It was the second time Lee (4-0) used a scoring run to their advantage. The home team trailed Bryan (2-6) by five early in the second half and held the Lions scoreless for nearly six minutes as they rattled off 10 straight points to take a 48-43 lead with 8:51 left.
Lee had three players hit double digits in scoring. Alex Wells and Ryan Westbrooks led the way with 17 points each and Josh Henley added 10 more in the win. Wells hit 4-of-10 3-point attempts and was 5-for-5 at the charity stripe.
Westbrooks added five rebounds and a blocked a shot to go along with his point total. Henley was 4-for-9 from the field and grabbed seven boards.
“I thought it was Josh Henley’s best game,” said Lee head coach Tommy Brown. “We really needed it because they were doubling down on Johnny (Godette) on every play.”
Godette hit the boards for a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with four points and three assists. Tyrone Caldwell dished out a team-high five assists.
The Lions were led by Rob Riley’s 22 points. Riley was 8-for-16 shooting and hit 2-of-3 3-point attempts.
Lavonte Henderson added 14 points and four steals, while Dion Fair had seven points, six rebounds and six assists in the losing effort.
The Flames trailed by one at the half, 29-28, after shooting just under 38 percent (9-for-24) from the field and 25 percent (3-for-12) from beyond the arc. Bryan shot 42 percent (11-for-26) from the floor and hit 3-of-5 shots from behind the three-point line.
“We’ve got to change our pregame drills or something,” added Brown. “We just have a tough time getting started each game. We were not good at all in the first half. I don’t know what was wrong, but Bryan was outhustling us and working harder, but that usually happens when you come off two conference wins and then have to play a nonconference opponent.”
The Flames’ shooting woes continued in the second half as they made 11-of-31 shots and just 3-of-14 (21 percent) 3-point attempts.
“Give Bryan credit, they played good defense and did a good job of running the clock down on their possessions,” said Brown.
Bryan cooled off a bit in the final 20 minutes as the Lee defense applied more pressure. The Lions took 25 shots and made nine of them.
Lee won the battle of the boards, 40-27, but lost the turnover battle, 17-14. Bryan turned those 17 Lee floor mistakes into 19 points. The Flames recorded 10 points off of Bryan turnovers.
The Flames were plus-five at the free throw line. Bryan was 12-of-14 (86 percent) at the line, but Lee made 21 trips to the line and converted 17 times.
“I’m going to give the guys some time off for Thanksgiving. If we had lost tonight, we’d have been back in the gym in the morning,” summed up Brown.
The Flames will get back into action Dec. 2-3 with a trip to the Gulf Coast to face the University of Mobile and Spring Hill College in two important SSAC matchups.