SIOUX CITY – The Ashford University men's basketball team opened a four-game road trip on Friday night, facing off against the Chargers of Briar Cliff University at Ray Nacke Court.
In a tightly contested game that featured 13 lead changes and 10 ties, the Chargers got a layup from Shane Graves with six seconds left to propel the Chargers to a 69-68 win.
Senior guard Thaddeus Perry led the Saints with 15 points, but in the end the Saints fell one point short and dropped to 1-1 on the year.
Zach Otting topped all scorers with 25 points for Briar Cliff, which improved to 2-1 on the young season.
Ashford grabbed its largest lead of the first half at the 15:12 mark, when junior Tevin Harris drove hard to the paint for a layup to make it a 10-7 game. It would be the final lead the Saints would hold in the half, as the Chargers outscored the visitors 10-4 over the final five minutes of the half to take a 34-27 lead into the break.
The Saints stormed back out of the break and after a senior Denis Dobkowski-Rylko connected on a three-pointer with 11:31 to play, the Saints had the lead back at 46-44.
It remained a one-possession game until the final two minutes, when a pair of free throws from junior Anthony Woods gave AU a 68-64 lead with 1:12 to play.
But a three-point play from Otting cut the lead to one with 50 seconds left, setting the stage for Graves' game-winning layup.
Woods added a career-best 13 points for the Saints while Little added 12 of his own for a Saints team that shot 43.5 percent (27-for-62) from the floor. Ricky Torres added 12 points for the Chargers, who shot 47.2 percent (25-for-53) on the night.
Little and Harris led the Saints with seven rebounds each for Ashford, who held a 38-33 edge on the glass.
Ashford looks to bounce back on Saturday, when they face off against the Mustangs of Morningside College at 4 p.m.