Records have probably never been kept in this category, but the Flames only scored one two-point field goal the entire evening. The scorebook shows the Flames were 1-of-13 from inside the 3-point arc. On the other hand, they knocked down 10-of-12 3-point shots in the first half and finished the game by making 13-of-20 (65 percent).
Free throws also helped the Flames (8-3, 3-2). They marched to the line 30 times and were able to convert 20, most coming late in the hard-fought battle with the Crusaders.
Lee jumped out to a 17-point lead in the opening 20 minutes and held what appeared to be a comfortable 34-20 lead at the break. However, the long field goal attempts stopped falling in the second half and William Carey just kept plugging away and cut Lee’s large margin to only four points.
Ryan Westbrooks helped keep the Flames on top by knocking down a pair of crucial 3-point goals to help stave off the Crusader comeback in the final eight minutes. However, the turning point may have been Lee’s play on the defensive end. They held the Crusaders to only 35 percent shooting from the field and blocked 13 of William Carey’s field goal attempts.
Patrick Shaughnessy recorded six blocks and Johnny Godette followed with five. Big Steve Bennett registered a pair of rejections. The Flames also forced 11 William Carey turnovers but were guilty of 19 floor mistakes themselves, 13 coming in the first half.
“We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the basketball and getting it inside to our post players,” said assistant coach Paul Cretton. “Thank God we were making the 3-point shots in the first half.”
Duran Blue led the first-half charge by canning four treys in five attempts. He finished the contest with 15 points. Westbrooks was Lee’s leader with 16 markers. He made 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc and was 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Tyrone Caldwell also helped the Flames seal the deal in the final minutes. He was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line and added one trey in garnering nine points. He also collected seven key assists.
Lee outrebounded the Crusaders 34-28. Josh Henley was tops with nine. Godette claimed six and Ed Pellot-Rosa came away with five.
William Carey got a 16-point effort from Roderick Little. Fernando Garcia collected 13 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Jamal Doss added 10 points and five boards. The Crusaders also outscored Lee in points in the paint (a remarkable 28-2) and had 18 markers off turnovers to only six for Lee.
“Coach (Steve) Knight has been in this business for a long time (30 years) and it shows,” praised Cretton. “They did an excellent job on the defensive end and mixed in a little zone to help keep us off balance. I’m just glad coach (Tommy) Brown will be back on the sidelines for Saturday’s game.”
Sparks Lady Flames
Mary Jackson recorded her first double-double since joining the Lady Flames squad over the semester break to lead Lee to a 65-41 defeat of William Carey University in an SSAC cross-divisional matchup.
The win, coupled with Belhaven University’s 11-point downing of Shorter University, set up a clash of the two remaining unbeaten teams in conference play Saturday.
Jackson came off the bench to hit 6-of-12 shots on her way to a game-high 13 points and 10 rebounds. The transfer from the University of Memphis also had an assist and a blocked shot.
Rachel Lockhart and Karley Miller were the only other Lady Flames (13-1, 5-0 SSAC) with double-digit scoring with each throwing in 11 points. Lockhart added four rebounds and two steals, while Miller had four rebounds and two blocked shots.
Freshman Jenna Adams posted nine points, two rebounds, one assist and four blocked shots in 17 minutes.
William Carey (7-5, 4-1 SSAC) was led by Crystal Tucker’s 12 points and nine rebounds. TeAnna Carter added seven markers, five boards, four steals and three assists in the loss.
The Lady Flames shot more than 48 percent (16-for-33) in the first half and held William Carey to just 22 percent (6-of-27) from the floor to build a 39-17 halftime lead.
Both offenses moderated in the final 20 minutes. Lee’s hot hand cooled to 31 percent (9-for-29) while the Lady Crusaders warmed up to hit nearly 37 percent (7-of-19) of their attempts from the floor.
Lee won the battle of the boards, 45-26. The Lady Flames turned the ball over 22 times, while the Lady Crusaders were guilty of 23 floor mistakes.
WCU held the advantage at the free-throw line, where they made good on 12 out of 19 trips. Lee went to the line 15 times and converted seven.