Lake Region State College shoots 4-for-11 from the free-throw line in the defeat by Bismarck State College.

For Lake Region State College on Sunday, Feb. 16, the difference between winning and losing came down to 15 feet.

Trailing by one, the Royals had consecutive opportunities to go ahead from the free-throw line but missed the front end of both bonus attempts and eventually fell to Bismarck State College 73-70 for their fifth straight loss.

“It’s even worse,” began Jared Marshall about his team going 4-for-11 from the charity stripe. “We missed the two front ends at the end and then we missed a couple to begin with so that’s more stuff that we didn’t get and it cost us.

“We talked about it at halftime about doing a better job of getting to the hoop and to their credit, they listened and they executed that but when we got to the line, we didn’t knock them down when we needed to.”

The Royals (9-19, 3-9 Mon-Dak) trailed by nine with 8 minutes, 21 seconds left in regulation but over the next six minutes were able to come back to tie the score at 68-all after a Leif Nelson (Devils Lake) jumper from the free-throw line. On the next possession, the Royals took the lead for the first time since the 16:28 mark of the first half when Beau Feltman made a layup with 1:38 remaining.

On the Mystics ensuing possession, Kyler McGillis’ 3-pointer gave Bismarck State College the 71-70 lead. Dion Ford was then sent to the line and missed his free throw attempt. After a defensive stop, Josh Kihle is fouled on the rebound and he goes to the line with 34.9 left on the clock. Kihle missed his free throw, the Royals got the offensive rebound but turned it over on the possession.

A McGillis layup with 8.5 seconds left proved to be the decisive points. McGillis scored the Mystics (8-20, 5-7) final five points to finish with 16 points. He also had five rebounds, three assists and his steal of Myles Arnold at the top of the key as time ran out sealed the victory.

“We’re still battling, we’re still playing. We’re still right there with a lot of these teams. I wanted this one really bad for them and they wanted it really bad but it shows that if we keep playing and keep grinding anything can happen here at the end of the year,” Marshall said.

Both Nelson and Ford finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds apiece for the Royals. Nelson also had six assists. Feltman and Arnold scored 16 points apiece as the Royals sit in seventh place with two games remaining on the schedule.

Jamison Kramer scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds and Cobe Begger had 13 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the Mystics who won their third straight.

The Mystics opened the game with consecutive 3s from Kramer and McGillis to take the 6-0 advantage but behind a Feltman basket that was sandwiched between two Nelson 3-pointers, the Royals went on an 8-0 run to take the lead.

The Royals ended the first half on an 11-2 run at went into halftime down 37-35.

Box score can be found here.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com.