QUINCY -- Jah-Kobe Womack finished his answer to every question with the same thought.
"We just have to find a way to win," he kept saying.
The Quincy University men's basketball team nearly did in what would have been the biggest victory of the season. Instead, a couple of key plays late in the game tipped the scales in favor of No. 19 Lewis, which finished off a 69-67 victory Thursday night at Pepsi Arena despite trailing the Hawks for 32 of the 40 minutes.
"We played a full 40 minutes and felt like that was our best all-around game the whole season," said Womack, a junior guard. "We just have to find a way to win."
Womack played a significant role in the consistent effort. His ability to beat the Lewis guards off the dribble and create scoring opportunities off penetration allowed the Hawks to shoot 50 percent from the field and get to the free-throw line 22 times. He finished with 23 points and three assists and was part of a defensive effort that limited the Flyers to 33 percent shooting in the first half.
"Everybody knew what we had to do," Womack said. "If we could space them out, we could get downhill in attack mode. We got to the free-throw line. We dictated the pace of the game. We just have to find a way to win."
Although that hasn't been easy -- the Hawks have lost five straight games going into Saturday's season finale against Indianapolis and sit at 9-18 overall and 3-14 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play -- being able to hang with the top team in the Midwest Region is encouraging.
"We could have been doing this the whole season long," Womack said. "The whole coaching staff put the right things out there every day with practice, film, etc. We finally executed and could see what we could do with it. We just have to find a way to win."
If the Hawks are to win, Womack needs to duplicate his effort, too.
His 23 points were a season high and one of three 20-point efforts this season. His previous high was 21 points in the victory against Maryville, and he had 20 points in the four-point loss to McKendree. When he's engaged defensively and in attack mode offensively, the Hawks are clearly better.
That was the case Thursday night.
Staying out of foul trouble
Lewis used three different forwards, including Jacksonville product Brendan McCombs, to get physical with Quincy forward Aziz Fadika, who has been prone to get into foul trouble. Fadika avoided spending long stretches on the bench by relying more on his teammates to grab rebounds.
Fadika, the 6-foot-7 junior, played 27 minutes, scored 18 points and swiped three steals. However, the GLVC's leader in offensive rebounds grabbed just one offensive board and finished with only three rebounds overall.
The Hawks were outrebounded 37-26 but it wasn't for lack of effort on the guards' part. De'Andre Alexander led Quincy with eight rebounds, while Womack pulled down five. Robby Dosier had two rebounds off the bench.
After knocking off Truman State 84-77 Thursday night, Indianapolis is clinging to the No. 4 spot in the GLVC points rating system and will look to lock up the No. 4 seed for the GLVC Tournament by beating the Hawks on Saturday. Drury is the only team capable of overtaking the Greyhounds, and the Panthers close the season against William Jewell.
Indianapolis has won just two of its last five games, but two of those losses were to teams sitting ahead of it in the standings. The Greyhounds have a balanced attack featuring five players in double figures, all averaging between 10.6 and 13.9 points. Senior forward Jesse Kempson leads the Greyhounds with 13.9 points and seven rebounds per game.