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Aggie Men Fall in Hard-Fought Showdown with SAGU
 

Released by Panhandle State Sports Information on 01/07/2019 Baris Ulker led the Aggies in scoring Saturday, hauling in 23 points against SAGU. - Beverly Hintergardt photo<br />  Baris Ulker led the Aggies in scoring Saturday, hauling in 23 points against SAGU. - Beverly Hintergardt photo
 

Goodwell, Okla.—Following the exciting finish to the women's game on Saturday afternoon, the Panhandle State men's basketball team gave fans an equally impressive performance against the Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lions, taking it down to the final seconds but falling just short of victory in the 83-80 defeat by the Lions.

A true battle of will, the Aggie men exhibited fortitude and tenacity throughout the game. Although they got off to a shaky start, trailing 14-4 after the first three minutes of play, the Aggies battled back to edge within five points at halftime (44-39). Baris Ulker narrowed the gap to three points with a layup to open second-half scoring (44-41). A physical performance by the Lions gained them a 12-point lead at the 4:56 mark, but the Aggies would not relent. An all-around group effort brought Panhandle back to a two-point difference with 31 seconds remaining in the game. SAGU went one-and-one at the line, leaving the Aggies down by three. Ulker made two key rebounds to give the Aggies opportunities to tie things up, but heavy pressure by the Lions made for two missed shots beyond the arc, and the Aggies fell by three points in the end.

After an exhausting 40 minutes, Head Coach Aaron Coombs commented, "I am very disappointed in the outcome. I thought SAGU defended us very well and did some things that made it more difficult for us to make shots." He added, "I am proud of how we battled back in the second half and had a chance to tie it at the end of regulation. We had a chance to see a snapshot of our character and it's what I knew it was. We have a level of toughness on our team, but it still needs to increase."

Ulker finished the day as the game-leader in scoring with 23 points; he also led the team in rebounds with seven. Khallid Edwards brought in the team's second highest point total with 20 points including six shots made beyond the arc. Edwards tallied five boards and five assists with two steals in the game. Other top performers for the Aggies included Jaedon Whitfield with 17 points and Breiman Alexander with 16; Whitfield and Alexander each had four rebounds on the day.

The Aggies gave up 24 points off turnovers 32 points in the paint. SAGU utilized their bench to gain 23 points off non-starters; the Aggies received four points from DK Sumo who clocked 20 minutes as one of three bench players who participated in the game.
Coach Coombs continued, "We had a goal of going 2-0 this week which is something we must learn how to do if we are going to reach our other goals. Winning in this league is tough, and if we don't play our best every game, it is going to be a challenge regardless of the opponent."

Panhandle State men's basketball owns a 7-5 record on the season and sits 2-4 in conference play. With a rough road stretch ahead, Coombs concludes by saying, "Now we prepare to face the gauntlet of the season with three of the next four games being against nationally ranked teams. We will see what we are made of." The Aggies travel to Bethany, Okla. this week to take on Southwestern Christian University on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. They then face No. 12 Oklahoma City on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. followed by a mid-week matchup against No. 24 Wayland Baptist on Tuesday, Jan. 15 in Plainview, Texas. They return to Anchor D Arena on Thursday, Jan. 17 for an SAC contest against No. 21 John Brown. All game offer live stats and video streaming online with links available at opsuaggies.com.