There was none of that on Tuesday night for Lee coach Tommy Brown’s team, as the Lee men’s basketball squad topped Virginia Intermont 83-67 at Walker Arena.
On Thursday, 12th-ranked Freed-Hardeman will come to town for the toughest of Lee’s nonconference matchups.
The victory moves Lee to 4-0 on the young season, with each victory coming by a double-digit margin.
The Flames were paced by senior Steve Bennett who registered a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Both Corey Billingsley and Duran Blue struck for 16 points to lead all scorers. Senior Will Barnes added 14 markers to put four Flames in double figures and complete a very balanced attack for the home team.
“Billingsley had eight assists and five boards to go along with his 16 points. But I got mad at him about a pass he tried to make inside to Bawa (Muniru),” stated Coach Brown.
“Big Steve (Steve Bennett) dominated in the first half, but he’s got to give us a complete game against the better teams on our schedule,” added Brown.
Lee held a commanding lead for much of the game. The Flames got out of the gate quickly, leading at the end of the first half of play 43-24. Coach Brown’s team shot 42 percent from the field (29-of-68) and 35 percent from 3-point range (8-of-23) in route to its fourth straight victory.
The Cobras were playing with just seven active players. VI was paced by Justin Morris, who scored 17 points in going 7-of-15 from the field. Dalec Cromwell was the only other Cobra in double figures, finishing with 13 markers. Joshua Hart pulled down eight boards to lead the Bristol, Va.,-based club.
“I think our depth showed tonight. Will (Barnes) and Chase (Dunn) didn’t have their best games, but the rest of the team picked it up for us. Duran Blue gives us three guards that are pretty tough to guard,” remarked the Lee coach.
A key to the victory was Lee’s ability to win the battle on the glass. The Flames outrebounded the Cobras 45-32, including 14 offensive boards to just eight for Virginia Intermont.
Brown talked about his team’s effort on the defensive end. “I was pleased with our defense. Chad Lee and Corey Billingsley did a good job on their top two scorers.”
The Flames can now turn their attention to Freed-Hardeman. Brown spoke about the matchup coming up with the Lions. “They believe this is their best team and we’ve played against a lot of good ones. We’ve got to find a way to stop their big man (Kyle Teichmann). But he can also step outside and score. We need a big crowd in here for the game. I agree, it will be our first big nonconference test of the year”.
Lee and Freed-Hardeman will tip at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Walker Arena.