BELLEVILLE --The Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm's eight-game winning streak is now in the past following a 70-63 loss on Saturday at Lakeland College in Mattoon.
SWIC (11-3), getting a combined 34 points from sophomores Tony Bradley and Trae Anderson, led the Lakers by four points with under six minutes to play.
But for the third time this season, SWIC failed to hold a lead as it dropped its first Great Rivers Athletic Conference game of the season.
"We've lost three games and looking back now, we should have won two of those games. We had a couple of defensive breakdowns and their players stepped up and hit the shots,'' vetrean SWIC coach Jay Harrington said. "Give credit to the Lakeland coaches. They came up with a great game plan and our guards didn't execute the way they needed too against it.''
Bradley led SWIC with 18 points, while Anderson chipped in with 16. Missouri recruit Keanau Post added 13 points and 12 for the Blue Storm which falls to 4-1 in GRAC play.
"Offensively we had two key players go 2-of-16 from the floor and were 1-of-12 from the 3-point line,'' Harrington said. "These were two players we count on and to finish a game 2-of-16 isn't very good. I understand that everybody has off nights but in those games, you need to find other ways to score and we didn't do that."
SWIC hosts Lincoln Trail on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. then travels at Shawnee College for a 4 p.m game on Saturday.
Unbeaten Vincennes University plays at SWIC at 7:30 pm. on Monday.
Women drop two games
The post-holiday blues have taken hold of the Blue Storm which after winning eight of its first nine games, have dropped two straight to start the second half of the season.
Freshman Breana Baker scored 17 points and sophomore Danielle Duncan added 11 points but it wasn't nearly enough as SWIC dropped a 68-44 contest to Lakeland College on Saturday in Mattoon.
Coming off a tough 55-52 setback at Rend Lake College, SWIC (8-3) started quickly, but struggled offensively for the second straight game as it fell to 3-2 in Great Rivers Athletic Conference play.
"We just can't score right now. I mean we're missing wide open 5-foot jumpers, throwing up air balls and missing uncontested layups. The other night against Lake Land, we score 44 points and we had 70 shots. You just can't win games when you shoot the basketball like that,'' Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger said
"We're going through some tough times right now with injuries and illness. The only good thing about is that we're going through this now instead of early March. We've still got time, but it's tough to get things accomplished when you've got kids out of the lineup. We had seven kids at practice today.''
Among the missing was sophomore All-American Janelle Cannon, who was away at a family funeral.
"I'm not about making excuses, but it's tough right now. We're not playing well and mentally when you miss some shots, there is a tendency to get your head down a little bit,'' Juenger said. "We were ranked 16th in the nation and these kids have to realize that teams want to beat us even more because of it. You've got be ready every game."
SWIC's game with Lincoln Trail College, which was scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed because of a lack of numbers on the Lincoln Trail team. The game will be made up later in the season.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or email@example.com