ADA, Okla. - Southeastern rallied in the fourth quarter and tied the game with seven seconds to play, but East Central would hit a pair of free throws with 0.5 seconds to play to hand the Savage Storm a 78-76 loss on Tuesday night in Ada, Okla.
The loss drops the Savage Storm to 7-8 overall and 5-5 in Great American Conference play.
"We came out of the locker room flat," said head coach Darin Grover, "As we have been lately. We just come out flat. You have to have mental energy and physical energy and we didn't."
"In the second half we got on track," he continued. "I'm proud of them for fighting back, but you have to finish these things off. We have to pull together and do that."
Southeastern had five players in double-figures, led by Alix Robinson and Taten Hyde who each posted 14 points. Robinson hit a trio of threes and shot 50 percent from the floor while Hyde was 4-of-7 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Courtney Brady added 11 points, while Sa'Liesha Hunter and Emem David chipped in 10 apiece.
Overall the Storm shot 46.9 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range while going 24-of-29 at the free throw line.
Hunter also dished out a team-high five assists.
Defensively, SE held a 34-to-28 edge on the glass with Brady and Ariannah Kemp pulling down a team-best five rebounds each.
In the first quarter the Storm rallied from an early 6-2 deficit, using 9-0 run to take an 11-6 lead before holding on for a 15-14 lead at the quarter break.
The teams traded the lead early in the second before SE jumped out to a four-point lead at 26-22 after a pair of Brady free throws, but ECU would finish the half on a 7-2 run and led at halftime 29-28.
The third-quarter defensive woes continued for the storm as the Tigers matched their first-half output with 29 points in the third quarter alone. The SE offense nearly kept pace however, going 8-of-15 from the floor with four threes for 24 points and trailed heading to the final quarter by a 58-52 margin.
Southeastern shot 60 percent from the field and went 11-of-13 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and chipped away at the deficit, tying the game on a Hyde free throw with seven seconds to play.
Unfortunately, the Storm would get whistled for a foul with 0.5 seconds to play and the Tigers' Madison Rehl would hit two free throws and SE was unable to get off a final shot, falling 78-76.