Liberal, Kansas – The second half of conference action has started in the Jayhawk and the Saints enter on a hot streak with a three-game win streak to take on the Cloud County Thunderbirds where despite Ryle Riddlespurger knocking down nine threes on the night, it was not enough to beat the T-Birds who snatched away a 73-71 win over Seward County.

Riddlespurger made his presence known early in the contest as he entered the game off the bench less than a minute into the first half and quickly cashed in three straight triples to put the Saints in front 11-6 five minutes into the half and despite a small run for Cloud County he was able to sink in a fourth to ignite the crowd and lock the score back up at 14-14 entering the under 12:00 media timeout. Neither team was able to lift the lid on the basket over the next seven minutes until once again Riddlespurger struck from long-range with two quick threes to cut the T-Birds’ lead 25-2. The freshman guard needed help and his teammates answered as Dave Olaniyi snatched away the ball for an easy steal and took it back for a score to lock up the game and a triple from Amir Whitlock allowed Seward County to take the lead before the halftime break 35-33.

The second half started slow for the Saints as they could only score eight points in the first nine minutes with Kobe McGowan finding his way to the rim for two to start the Saints scoring and another steal by Olaniyi led to a fast break alley-oop highlight slam from Jaden Martin that would have ESPN commentators out of their seats. Whitlock entered into the game and sunk in his second three-pointer of the contest to bring SCCC back within one at 48-47 and a corner triple by Martin knotted things up at 51 a piece. Both sides continued to exchange blows with neither team able to mount more than a three-point advantage as Riddlespurger cashed in his ninth three of the game to put the Saints up by one with under two minutes remaining. Cloud County however had an answer as they struck back to retake the lead by four and despite a last second three before the buzzer by Whitlock, it was not enough as Seward County fell by just two points 73-71.

Riddlespurger scored the highest point total of any Saint this season with 27 points with 9 made three-pointers while Whitlock added on 13 and Martin recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Seward County now falls to 6-13 on the 2023-24 season and 4-9 in KJCCC play to start the second half of conference action. They will look to get back on track this Saturday when they make the drive out to Cowley to face on the #12 Tigers with tip-off scheduled for 4:00 PM.