Buffs battle in nail-biter with Tulsa Memorial

Feb. 2—The Buffaloes weren't going down without a fight.

McAlester hosted Tulsa Memorial Friday at the McAlester Activity Center, where the Buffs battled back-and-forth but fell 70-58 to the Chargers.

The Buffs got hot out of the gate, taking a quick 4-0 lead. The Chargers answered to take the lead, but McAlester struck right back with points from Brandon Smith, Alex Dooney, and DaVantrae McKendrick on the way to a 16-15 Buffalo lead after the first quarter.

In the second period, McAlester's hot hand continued with a three triples from McKendrick as the Buffs kept pace with the Chargers. Smith later hit a hard-earned three followed by a McKendrick jumper to put the Buffs into the lead.

Memorial answered with a 6-0 run to end the half, taking a narrow 34-30 lead into the locker room break.

McAlester rolled out of the locker room with a 6-2 run fueled by shots from Smith and Davien Pouncil. The Chargers responded with a run of their own, holding to a nine-point lead midway through the period.

The Buffs began slicing into the deficit, with pull-up jumpers from McKendrick, a put-back from Pouncil, and a driving score by Smith to make it a 51-45 Memorial lead heading into the final quarter.

Kayden Harris and McKendrick propelled the Buffs forward in the fourth, with De'Veion Bickham and Harris later adding in more points to cut the lead down to five midway through the quarter. The Chargers responded with a 5-0 run, extending the lead once more.

Both teams battled to the final horn, but it'd be Memorial holding on for the win.

McKendrick led the Buffs with 24 points, followed by Smith with 15 points, Pouncil and Dooney with six points each, Harris with four points, Riley Calistro with two points, and Bickham with a free throw.

Next up for McAlester, the Buffs will travel to Tulsa Friday to face off against Will Rogers.