Playing shorthanded wasn't the ideal situation for Ardmore in its home opener.

Being undersized didn't help either, as the Tigers found easy buckets hard to come by in a 44-40 loss to Durant on Tuesday.

With sophomore guard Anthony Willis sidelined by illness and the Tigers only suiting up eight players, Ardmore started out at a slower-than-usual pace, scrapping its way to a 16-15 lead at halftime.

But the size factor was detrimental to the Tigers (3-4). Ardmore's tallest starter came in at six feet, while Durant had three starters listed above 6-4, including 6-7 post James Donelan.

Dre Johnson led Ardmore with 19 points and Chantz White added 11 including three 3-pointers. Durant freshman Skye Lowe had 19 points to pace the Lions.

Durant took its first significant lead on a 5-0 run in the third quarter, which pushed the Lions' advantage to 23-18. Johnson planted himself in the center of the Lions' zone in the fourth quarter, forcing Donelan into foul trouble and scoring four straight from the line to tie the game at 35-35.

When the Durant zone wasn't keeping Ardmore from finding clean looks, Donelan was altering shots in the paint. Then, Lowe decided to introduce himself to the contest.

The 5-8 Lowe came off the bench to fuel the Lions with a series of twisting drives to the basket and floaters. His most important contributions, however, came at the line, as the undersized freshman hit 9-of-10.

Durant closed the game on a 9-3 run, with White's 3-pointer with 1:04 to go the only points for Ardmore. His long ball brought the Tigers to within one at 41-40, but Ardmore couldn't convert shots down the stretch.

Lowe was perfect from the line until his final attempt, giving Ardmore one more shot to win trailing by two. But Johnson's effort came up short with 4.1 seconds to go, and Cameron Scheussler (10 points, six rebounds) hit 2-of-2 on the other end to ice the game.

Jeff Surrell had 10 rebounds for the Tigers. Donelan had seven rebounds and seven blocked shots.