For three quarters, there was admittedly something missing from a Palatine squad that won 9 of its first 16 games.
The Pirates trailed by as many as 9 in the third quarter against Glenbrook South after taking an early 5-point lead.
And while they made it interesting with some hot shooting in the final minute, Palatine ultimately suffered a 49-46 setback to Glenbrook South in nonconference action Tuesday.
"There was something missing tonight," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "We couldn't pinpoint what it was. I thought we were pretty flat for most of the night."
"I feel like we didn't step up as well as we should've, me and everybody else," said Palatine guard Greg Grana, who led the hosts with 16 points and 7 rebounds. "Defense leads to offense. Tonight, the defense just didn't start it up for us."
Palatine (9-8) struggled offensively for three quarters, shooting just 28 percent from the floor and trailing 33-26.
But the Pirates made it a game, drawing within 35-33 with 3:46 left after Jordan Jarrett's lead pass to Roosevelt Smart resulted in a layup.
Even after Danny Nikitas sank 2 free throws to put Glenbrook South (10-7) up 47-40 with 49 seconds left, Palatine stormed back.
Sophomore point guard Chris Macahon found Grana for his third 3-pointer with 31 seconds left. And after a Titan turnover, Macahon passed to Smart on the wing for another 3 to cut the deficit to 47-46 with 21 seconds remaining.
"That's where we started to get stops," Grana said. "We knew that as soon as we started to play defense, those were going to open up."
Glenbrook South's Matt Siegel hit 2 free throws and on the ensuing Pirate possession, Grana nearly sent the game to overtime, but his 3-point attempt hit off the back rim as time expired.
"Palatine is so tough that if it was a 20-point game, which we never would anticipate here, they wouldn't have quit," said Glenbrook South coach Ben Widner. "They would have battled the whole way. They are just a gritty, tough, well-coached, disciplined team."
Smart, who usually has no trouble creating his own shot, never could get going offensively and finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Andy Macahon added 8 points for Palatine.
Connor McCarthy scored 12 points for the Titans, who played without leading scorer Justin Busiel.
"Like any loss, if you can learn from it and make sure you're not making the same mistakes again, we'll benefit from this," Millstone said. "We need to come out Friday (at Barrington) and play with the same energy and intensity that got us through the first 16 games. Just put this one behind us."