Eldon found itself in a fight to the finish with a scrappy Buffalo team Tuesday night.

Eldon found itself in a fight to the finish with a scrappy Buffalo team Tuesday night.

No lead was safe as the Bison trailed by seven at halftime, as much as 13 in the third quarter and by as much as eight in the fourth before storming back with a barrage of 3-pointers that ultimately led to a 60-57 win over the Mustangs.

“That is the difference between teams that have winning traditions and teams that are trying to get there is that they are used to being in this situation to close out games,” Eldon coach Cory Casey said of the tough loss. “We are finding ourselves in that situation now and we’ve never really had a tradition of doing that.

“So, it is learning how to do things at the end of the game to close one out and it is frustrating when you are not used to doing that because the tendency is to do the wrong things. We are trying to break that.”

Trailing for most of the night after leading Eldon 10-9 in the first quarter, Buffalo retook the lead with 1:30 remaining. When the Mustangs tied it at 54 with a minute left, another big Buffalo 3-pointer gave the visitors the lead for good.

The Bison extended their lead to 59-54 with a pair of free throws after Eldon missed a close shot inside, but senior Collin Tamm nailed a 3-pointer of his own to cut the gap to 59-57 with 3.2 seconds left. Opting to foul without running any time off the clock, Buffalo made one of two shots from the charity stripe and Eldon senior Logan Hall’s game-tying launch from half court went off the backboard.

Obviously a tough way to go down, but a good lesson early in the season for Eldon. Execution will be the key moving forward.

Hall led Eldon with 21 points, Tamm finished with 17, junior Aiden Wells chipped in 14 and senior Clayton Moore added five points of his own. The Mustangs went 10-13 at the free throw line for a healthy 77 percent and even knocked down nine 3-pointers as a team.

Still, it was not quite enough to put away Buffalo as the Bison ended the third quarter on an 18-6 run to bring the deficit to a single point and erased Eldon’s 8-point advantage in the fourth with a 20-8 run to end the game. The Mustangs originally came out in a 3-2 zone defensively and switched to man-to-man to try and find a way to slow down Buffalo’s 3-point assault. An Eldon defender even jumped out and had a hand in the face of the shooter for the key go-ahead final 3-pointer from Buffalo and the ball still found a way to roll around the rim and into the net.

“It is right there. We are moving the ball well and getting good shots. Tonight we moved the ball really well and it was probably our best offensive night,” Casey noted, also pointing out that his team closed the previous game out well for seventh place in the Tri-County Conference Tournament against Osage.

“We just could not eliminate the ‘3’ on their end. If we cut half of those we win pretty handily I think.”

Casey also pointed to the other little things that contribute to the big picture such as not being caught standing for rebounds and being able to finish around the basket. One thing he certainly did not fault, though, was effort.

“The boys fought really hard and I’m proud of their effort. They are fighting and I’m just praying they continue to fight, keep their heads up and realize we are moving in the right direction,” the coach said. “We just have to learn how to close out the close ones.”

Up next for Eldon (1-5) is a trip to Eugene on Friday at 6 p.m.

“It will be a tough contest. We’ll be ready to go and I think we play well, we got a chance,” Casey said of the upcoming game. “But we have to play well because they are a real solid team and have a great coach. They’ve been doing it for a long time and they’ve got a good program going on over there.”