The Raiders lost their fourth game in a row Thursday in non-region action against Arkansas Baptist.
The Raiders trailed by just six points with around five minutes to play in the game, but they were unable to string together a final run to take the lead.
Three Rivers started strong with a 9-for-20 clip from 3-point range in the first half before going cold and missing some easy shots around the basket in the second half.
"We played about like we've been playing," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "We had like a nine-point lead right before the half and just kind of monkeyed it away. One of those situations where they were down four at halftime and they came back. They rallied from that point on, and they had an enthusiastic crowd and hit some big 3s.
"We just never could really get back and feel like we were in control."
Going against a smaller lineup in Arkansas Baptist, the Raiders still had some trouble on the boards and finished with 35 total rebounds. Arkansas Baptist secured 46 boards for a plus-nine margin on the glass. Tallon Fonda and Austin Parker each led Three Rivers with eight rebounds apiece.
"We've got guys that just will not rebound," Bess said. "They never have rebounded, and I don't know where they played that they were able to get away with it, but it's just the way it is. We maybe have two or three guys that'll rebound, but the rest of them just seem to have an affinity for never rebounding."
The speed of the Buffaloes was something Bess said could pose a problem for his Raiders in the matchup, and he said the Raiders were beat off the dribble throughout the night as Arkansas Baptist shot over 40 percent for the game.
"We were hitting well (in the first half)," Bess said. "We were kind of methodically getting control of the game. Then, we missed the front end of some one-and-ones, we gave them two and three shots several times. It was just one of those situations where our lack of experience, lack of discipline, whatever you want to call it, just never could get back and get in control of the game like we had been."
With the Raiders having a size advantage inside, Bess thought the team would be able to take advantage of mismatches in the paint, but with one double-figure scorer, that didn't end up being the case.
"They're not a very big team, and we thought we might we might really have a great advantage in the post, but that never happened," Bess said. "It wasn't so much that we were posting people. They were just out-rebounding us, and we had post men missing bunnies, and then they didn't hit their free throws, so it was a game where we thought we had an edge in the post, but it turned out to be the opposite."
The Raiders will look to rebound and end their four-game skid Saturday when they host Moberly Area in a Region XVI matchup. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic