Thirteen lead changes and 11 ties. That should tell the reader that the game between the Peru State men's basketball team with Graceland in Lamoni, Iowa, Thursday night was a tight one.
 
The 'Jackets led 74-72 with 14 seconds left after Graceland had made a pair of free throws. Peru State had two shots at the bucket, but came up short with both.
 
Graceland, who was receiving votes in the latest poll, improved to 12-6 on the season and 8-5 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). The 17th-ranked Bobcats fell to 15-5 overall and 10-4 in conference play.
 
First Half Action
 
Jamil Maddred (Camden, N.J.) scored the first five points of the game. Maddred hit a field goal with 14 seconds off the clock and then drained a trey 33 seconds later off an assist from Brandon Jones (Houston). 
 
The Yellowjackets would score the next ten points to lead 10-5. Graceland would hold onto the lead until Jones hit a bucket to eventually tie the game at 11-11 with 15:22 left in the first half.
 
Later, with 13:30 remaining, Jones hit another bucket to put Peru State up 15-14. Graceland would come back to lead by four at 19-15. A trey by Deonte McReynolds(Chicago) off an assist from Keshawn Wilson (Lincoln) was followed by an old-fashioned three-point play by Wilson to put Peru State up 21-19 at the 9:03 mark.
 
Lyle Hexom (Omaha) would extend the lead for the 'Cats with a bucket off an assist from Maddred making it 23-19.
 
Another run by the Yellowjackets of 11-2 gave Graceland a five-point advantage at 30-25 with just under four minutes left in the first 20 minutes.
 
A trey by Wilson and a pair of free throws by Jones would stop the Graceland run and knot the game at 30 each with 2:57 on the clock.
 
After the score was tied at 32-32, Jones broke the tie with a bucket and then Maddred hit a trey to make it 37-32. A three-pointer by Graceland ended the half with Peru State leading 37-35.
 
Second Half Action
A Graceland three-pointer started the second half to give the 'Jackets the initial lead. The second half had three early ties at 40-40, 42-42, and 47-47.
 
The Yellowjackets would then score four points to go up 51-47 only to see Peru State score seven straight points to retake the lead at 54-51 with 11:26 left in the game.
 
Peru State would eventually build its lead to six on two different occasions with the last one coming at 68-62 with 4:09 on the clock. Two treys by Graceland would wipe out that lead and the score was tied with 3:24 left.
 
A pair of Hexom free throws at the 2:21 mark would give the 'Cats the 70-68 lead. Graceland would score the next four points, all on free throws to go up 72-70 with 50 ticks left on the clock.
 
Jones would be fouled and calmly sank a pair of free throws to tie the game with 45 seconds in the game.
 
Graceland would hit a bucket with 14 seconds left on the clock before the two missed field goal attempts by the Bobcats gave the 'Jackets the contest.
 
Team Statistics
 
Graceland connected on 23 of 62 field goals for 37.1% but were deadly from downtown as they hit 11 of 27 for 40.7%. At the charity stripe, the 'Jackets made 17 of 22 of 77.3%. Peru State shot better from the field than the Yellowjackets as they hit 24 of 57 field goals for 42.1%. The 'Cats made 10 of 28 three-point attempts for 35.7%. At the free throw line the Bobcats were 14 of 18 for 77.8%.
 
Peru State had a slight rebounding edge as they grabbed 39 boards compared to 37 for Graceland. The 'Jackets dished out 13 assists while the Bobcats finished with nine.
 
The Bobcats finished with 14 turnovers with the Yellowjackets only committing nine miscues. Both teams blocked three shots. Peru State nabbed one more steal as they finished with four.
 
Peru Player Statistics
 
Four Bobcats finished in double figures and were led by Jones who had a game-high 22 points. Hexom added 15 points while Wilson contributed 13. Maddred finished the game with 12.
 
Hexom had a game-high 11 rebounds to have his 12th double-double of the season. Maddred added six boards while Wilson and Jones each finished with five.
 
Maddred had a team-high five assists while Jones dished out two. Jones blocked two shots while Wilson was credited with one. Hexom led the team with two steals.
 
Upcoming Contests
 
The 'Cats are back in action on Saturday in another key Heart match-up. The second-ranked William Penn (Iowa) Statesmen are coming to the Al Wheeler Activity Center for a 4 p.m. tip-off. The Statesmen are 16-4 overall and are tied with the Bobcats for second with a 10-4 mark in the conference. William Penn dropped an overtime game at Grand View (Iowa) Thursday night.
 
Saturday's contest will be the annual Coaches versus Cancer Suits and Sneakers contest. Fans will have an opportunity to recognize someone who has dealt or is dealing with cancer by signing a sneaker. A freewill donation will be available.
 
Peru State will then have a week off before hosting Evangel (Mo.) on Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. The Crusaders are 4-14 overall and are 3-10 in the conference after beating Baker (Kan.) Thursday night.
 
February 2 is the tenth annual National Alumni Association's Alumni Chili Feed which will begin at approximately halftime of the women's contest. Many other events will be occurring that day.