The Flames were in total command at the half, leading 49-35 behind 19 points from transfer Will Barnes and 15 from another transfer, Chase Dunn. Before the evening ended, Barnes connected on five 3-pointers and thrilled the crowd with a rim-rattling slam dunk. He finished with 29 points.
Dunn hit four treys and closed out the night with 23 points. All totaled, the Flames had four players finish in double-figure scoring. Big Steve Bennett posted a double-double, 11 points and 11 rebounds. He also had two blocks and couple of steals in 22 minutes of playing time.
Corey Billingsley rounded out the double-digit scoring with 10 markers, while Chad Lee garnered 11 rebounds. Duran Blue ran the point for the Flames and had 10 assists to go along with his eight points. “Duran is really comfortable playing the point for us,” noted coach Tommy Brown who was pleased with the opening performance by his club. “Last year, we had to use Duran at the two-guard a lot, so he’s right at home now.”
The Flames shot 53 percent from 3-point range in the opening half and finished the evening by making 13-of-28 shots from behind the arc (46.4 percent). From the field, they converted 34-of-72 (47 percent). Lee won the rebounding battle 52-35 and each club turned the basketball over 16 times.
The Bulldogs could never match the shooting of the Flames. They shot 29 percent from the field and 28 percent from behind the arc. The Flames also were hot from the charity stripe, converting 21-of-24 attempts while Wesleyan went to the line 23 times and made 18.
Derek Triplett had 21 points for the losers. Shannon Smith finished with 14 and Zamarius McClendon followed with 13. Matt Harper pulled down nine boards for TWC.
“It was a good way to start the season and I was really pleased with the way we played in the early going,” said Brown. “We had a good crowd and they seemed to really enjoy watching our kids perform. Having veterans like Barnes and Dunn was a real plus. This team has worked hard and has come together very quickly.”
The Flames will return to action on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. and host another rival, Tennessee Temple. On Saturday, the Lady Flames will open their regular season by hosting Milligan College in the 12 p.m. Homecoming game. The Flames will follow against Bryan College at 2:15 p.m.