Thanks to a 20-point performance by Jerel Blocker in the opening 20 minutes, the Flames managed to trail only 50-47 at the break. However, the host Lions stayed hot in the second half and Lee scored only 20 points. The defeat dropped coach Tommy Brown's club to 3-1 on the year, while Freed improved to 3-0.
“Other than Blocker on offense, we had no answer for them on either end of the floor,” said coach Brown. “My hat goes off to coach (Jason) Shelton and his club. They were well prepared for this game and we were a step slow on the defensive end the entire afternoon. The only offense we could muster came from Blocker.”
The Freed-Hardeman defense toughened in the second half and Blocker managed only five points, finishing the contest with 25 points and being Lee's only player in double figures. Roy McFadgon was next with seven and Larriques Cunningham joined Johnny Godette with six.
While the Flames were shooting a remarkable 63 percent from the field and 3-point range to stay close in the first half, Freed was knocking in 66 percent from the field and 54 percent from behind the arc. “Every time we tried to double-down inside, they would knock down a 3-pointer,” noted Brown.
In the second half, the Flames only made six 2-point shots and one 3-pointer, finishing the evening with a 48 percent mark (25-of-52). They struggled tremendously at the line, making just 9-of-22 attempts. On the other hand, the Lions continued their torrid pace for the entire 40 minutes. They shot 58 percent from the field and 57 percent from behind the arc.
Brown admitted that his defenders had no answer for sophomore Kyle Teichmane. He made 11-of-16 shots from the field and finished the game with 29 points. Cedric Austin was 4-for-4 from 3-point range and notched 15 points. Ten different Freed players scored in the win.
“I'm not taking anything away from a real good Freed basketball team,” added Brown, “but we had a hard time playing without Stephen McClellan and his injury may keep him out the entire first semester. Not only is Stephen a deadly 3-point shooter, he also is an excellent screener and we use him as a decoy quite a bit.”
Coach Brown will have five days to regroup his Flames and get ready for a couple of big challenges on Friday and Saturday. The University of Mobile visits Walker Arena on Friday and Spring Hill College follows on Saturday. The Mobile game is scheduled for a 7:30 start, while the Spring Hill battle begins at 4 p.m.