Jan. 26—The Buffs never quit fighting.
McAlester hosted Durant Friday inside the McAlester Activity Center, where the Buffs battled but fell 56-45.
The Lions started the game hot, earning 10 quick points. Brandon Smith and DaVantrae McKendrick put the Buffs on the board to answer, but Durant responded with another run on the way to a 20-3 lead after the opening quarter.
In the second period, Smith and McKendrick again scored to cut into the lead — but Durant answered to keep the pace. Smith then rattled off an 8-4 run to end the quarter, making it a 33-16 Durant lead at the half.
Garrett Pickett opened scoring in the second half for the Buffs, with McKendrick following with four quick points of his own and force a Durant timeout. On the other side, Smith drove for a hard-earned lay-up and Isaiah Hishaw addd a put-back bucket to trim the deficit down to nine.
After a long possession with tough McAlester defense, Durant found a small window to score — but the Buffs answered with a bucket from Davien Pouncil on the way to a 41-30 Durant lead after three quarters.
McKendrick sparked McAlester's offense to start the fourth quarter, with a triple and hard-earned driving two through traffic to trim the deficit back to single digits. Both teams battled back and forth down the stretch, but it'd be the Lions holding on for the win.
McKendrick and Smith led McAlester with 17 points each, followed by De'Veion Bickham with five points, and Hishaw, Pouncil, and Pickett with two points each.
Next up for the Buffs, they'll travel Saturday to face off against Coweta.