A pair of newcomers to the Lee basketball program stepped up to nail key free throws in the final minute to help the Flames hold off a late charge by West Florida and post a hard-earned 66-64 victory …
A pair of newcomers to the Lee basketball program stepped up to nail key free throws in the final minute to help the Flames hold off a late charge by West Florida and post a hard-earned 66-64 victory on Monday evening in Walker Arena.
Sophomore Cody Jones, a transfer from Sewanee, hit 4-of-5 charity tosses and freshman Parker Suedekum hit a key free throw in the final seconds to keep the pressure squarely on the visiting Argonauts.
However, it was the 3-point shooting of Jervon Johnson that allowed the Flames to move out to a nine-point lead late in the second half and end a four-game losing streak. Johnson hit 6-of-11 treys and also countered with a 3-point play the old fashioned way in finishing the contest with his best effort of the season, 23 points.
The victory gave Lee coach Bubba Smith his 200th coaching win. “A lot of long years to get here but it’s really just always been about the kids for me,” said the coach. “I’m thankful for our guys being able to get the win tonight. It’s great to get this one and now we’re ready to move onto to Christian Brothers.”
“I’m proud of our guys and I’m really happy for them because they’ve stuck with the process even though we’ve had some tough results recently,” said Smith with a big smile after his Flames improved to 3-4 in the GSC and 7-6 overall. “Jervon got off to quick start and shot the ball well throughout the game, and that really rallied our team.”
Jones finished the evening with 11 points and seven rebounds. Keevin Tyus knocked down 10 of his 15 points in the first half in allowing the Flames to send the contest into the break tied at 30. Tyus also posted another double-double with 10 rebounds.
It was a total rebounding effort by the Flames against a very tall and athletic West Florida club. Lee outrebounded the Argonauts 39-36 with Ryan Montgomery pulling down five boards and Johnson picking up four.
While rebounding was a factor, Lee’s defense played a key role in slowing the West Florida offensive attack. “We were a little unconventional going to about 35 minutes of a zone defense tonight for the first time all year,” said Smith. “We knew we needed to force them to have to make some shots and I think the zone did its job tonight and that’s a credit to our guys to be able to execute that change in such a short period of time.”
The Lee defense held West Florida to only 32 percent shooting from the field and just 24 percent from 3-point range. The Argos did go to the charity stripe 27 times and convert 20. On the other hand, Lee shot 41 percent from the field and made 9-of-28 3-point attempts. They were awarded 21 free throws and canned 15. West Florida turned the basketball over seven times and Lee was guilty of 13 floor mistakes.
West Florida was paced by 14 points by Daryl Tucker, who also had nine rebounds. Jason Laatsch pitched in with 12 and Marvin Jones finished with 10. The Flames held West Florida’s leading scorer Austin Somerfield to only eight points.
Lee returns to action on Thursday facing another tough challenge when they travel to Memphis to face Christian Brothers. The second leg of the road trip circles back to Jackson and a match with long-time rival Union University on Saturday.
Lady Flames win
double OT thriller
Thanks to some key defensive stops and clutch foul shooting down the stretch, the Lee Lady Flames outlasted West Florida, 89-86 in a double-overtime thriller from Walker Arena on Monday evening.
Freshman Lindsey Roddy darted to the hoop and scored with just two seconds left in regulation to tie things up at 67 for Lee. Carrie Cheeks followed by delivering a huge block on the other end to send the contest into the first overtime. Cheeks finished the game with four blocks.
West Florida’s Katie O’Neal hit two clutch free throws with four seconds left in the first overtime to tie things up at 75. With no timeouts the Lady Flames had to travel the length of the court, and were unable to get a good look at a winning shot.
In the second overtime, the Lady Flames used an early 6-0 run and converted at the foul line late to hold on for the victory.
“We got numerous big stops and we made free throws down the stretch. It was nice to see us handle the basketball with composure in such a tight game,” said head coach Marty Rowe. “We are very similar to them, long and athletic and have multiple people that can score, so I think that’s why we play such close games against West Florida.”
Junior guard Erin Walsh delivered a game-high 26 points and hit four triples and 8 of 9 foul shots to lead the Lady Flames. Roddy added 18 points and eight rebounds while Abby Bertram stepped up with 15 points and five boards.
Courtney Meyer tallied 12 points and cleaned up the glass with 20 rebounds for the Argonauts as they displayed a balanced scoring attack with five players reaching double-figures. Imani Mulmore’s 20 points paced the scoring effort while O’Neal added 18 points, including 9 of 10 from the line. Toni Brewer followed with 15 and seven rebounds while Katie Bobos had 11 points and 10 boards.
The Lady Flames converted 10 3-pointers and limited West Florida to just 3 of 24 from beyond the arc. The Argonauts got to the line 40 times but cashed in just 27 (67.5 percent). The Lady Flames were 23 of 31 from the foul line, good for 74.2 percent.
The Lee defensive buckled down forcing 18 turnovers while swatting away 11 shots and swiping six steals. “I was so proud of the energy and determination we showed in the game. We defended with purpose and showed a lot of heart and that’s something we’ve talked about that’s been missing at times in our play,” said a pleased Rowe. “We’ve got a big road trip coming up so we’ll enjoy this one tonight and see if we can’t continue to get better each and every day.”
The double-overtime classic should come as no surprise to fans. Lady Flames and Argonauts played three times last season and the three contests were decided by a grand total of seven points.
The victory moves Lee back into a tie for first place in the Gulf South Conference. The Lady Flames improve to 10-3 overall and are 5-2 in league play. The loss drops West Florida into the same record at 10-3 and 5-2.
Lee will now head to West Tennessee to tangle with Christian Brothers University in Memphis on Thursday at 6 p.m., and old rival Union University in Jackson, Saturday at 3 p.m.
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