Red Deer, AB – The Red Deer College Kings pushed the SAIT Trojans, the number one ranked team in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) to the end, but were edged 102-99 with a late, clutch three from the Trojans' John Smith.
On the strength of nine points and two rebounds from John Smith, SAIT held a three point lead (18-15) at the end of the first quarter. Spencer Klassen and Ramiro Martinez Quintanilla Jimenez kept the Kings close, each scoring four points.
In the second quarter, Spencer Klassen caught fire, hitting a pair of three's and connecting from the field to swing RDC ahead by six (39-33). Ian Tevis, a former member of the Kings, hit a late jumper but at the half, RDC led 48-41.
RDC built on its lead in the third. Anthony Harper struck from long range, giving the Kings a 15 point margin (59-44). The Trojans tried to chip away at the lead. Nicholas Molina drained a three to bring his Trojans within 10 (59-49) and after 30 minutes the RDC Kings were up 77-68.
Back-to-back three's from John Smith and Nicholas Molina brought SAIT within a trio of points (77-74) in the fourth. After trailing the majority of the contest, SAIT evened the game at 96 with under two minutes remaining. With time ticking down, John Smith scored a tough three to provide SAIT a 102-99 edge. RDC had one final possession but couldn't connect as SAIT applied pressure. The Trojans improved to 11-0 on the season and stayed undefeated.
The Kings sit in fifth spot in the south with 10 points, four points behind the Lethbridge College Kodiaks (7-4) and Medicine Hat College Rattlers (7-5), for the final playoff spot in the division. The Trojans (11-0) sit in first spot in the south.
Ramiro Martinez Quintanilla Jimenez was chosen as the Kings Player-of-the-Game, totaling 15 points and five rebounds. John Smith received the honour for the Trojans, accumulating 27 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal while willing his group to the road win.
In a rematch on Saturday, the RDC Kings (5-6) will compete against the SAIT Trojans (11-0) in Calgary at 8:00 p.m.