MOUNT VERNON, Ga. — The long trip to South Georgia proved to be a fruitful one for both Lee University basketball teams Saturday with a couple of eight-point Southern States Athletic Conference victories to show for their efforts.
The No. 21-ranked Flames exploded for 54 points in the second half, overcoming a nine-point halftime deficit, to defeat host Brewton-Parker College, 78-70, while the seventh-ranked Lady Flames used a late offensive surge of their own for a 61-53 victory.
It was a tale of two halves in the men’s game as Lee sputtered in the first frame to the tune of 24 points, shooting 35 percent from the field. The Flames found the shooting touch in the second half, knocking down 63 percent of their shots, including 5-of-6 three-pointers.
“The first half was horrendous,” said Lee head coach Tommy Brown. “They outworked us, but I was proud of our guys and how they responded. Coming down here is never easy, but this team is a lot of fun; I love playing with this kind of energy.”
The Lee bench provided the spark offensively, led by 19 points by Ryan Westbrooks. Steve Bennett had his best offensive game for the Flames, adding 18 points and six rebounds. Overall, Lee’s reserves outscored Brewton-Parker’s bench, 45-18.
Alex Wells and Tyrone Caldwell rounded out the double-figure scoring with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Caldwell added three assists, with Johnny Godette earning a team-high seven rebounds.
Lee lost the turnover comparison, giving the ball away 17 times, compared to 14 for Brewton-Parker. The Flames distributed the ball well, however, with eight different players combining for 18 total assists. Lee outrebounded the Barons, 38-28.
Brewton-Parker was led by a 19-point performance by Yan Moukoury. The senior guard was a perfect 12-of-12 from the line, in addition to grabbing a game-high eight rebounds.
“Moukoury is the most talented player in the (SSAC),” added Brown. “He reminds me of a taller, thicker, more aggressive Larriques Cunningham (former Flame). He has great length and ability.”
The Barons (6-11, 4-4 SSAC) had two other players in double-figure scoring, Darrie Stephens (17) and Wendell Williams (16). As a team, they hit 37 percent of their shots, and drilled 91 percent of the free throws.
The No. 21-ranked Flames have now won six straight contests, moving to 11-3 on the season, 6-2 in league play.
The Lee men will continue SSAC play, Monday, hosting Truett-McConnell College at 8 p.m. “Wait ’till until you see Truett’s talent, you won’t believe it. They have a big man just like Big Steve (Bennett),” concluded Brown.
Lady Flames survive scare
The Lee ladies jumped on top in a fast-paced first half, taking a 38-29 lead into the halftime break. However, the Lady Flames scored just four points in almost 10 minutes to start the second half, as Brewton-Parker climbed back to take a 43-42 lead.
The final 10:03 saw Lee outscore the home club, 19-10, to pull away and earn the hard-fought conference win.
“Brewton-Parker is a tough place to play,” said head coach Marty Rowe. “I’m always excited to get out of here with a win. It was not the prettiest game, but I don’t care, we got the win, so I’m happy.”
The seventh-ranked Lady Flames move to 16-1 on the season, 8-0 in SSAC play. Winners of seven straight games, the Lady Flames are the only conference team still undefeated in league play.
The Lady Flames one-two punch of senior Angela Spann and sophomore Hollie German led the way offensively, turning in 17 and 15 points, respectively. Spann added six rebounds and three assists, with German contributing a pair of steals on defense.
It was the total team effort, however, that caught the attention of Rowe. “I’m really proud of this team, it was a great team effort. This team finds ways to win, they don’t panic, they just play and find a way to get it done.”
“Don’t look past the fact that we pull games out at the end,” added Rowe. “We have a chance to be a really good team down the stretch if we keep playing through things and finding ways to win.”
Returning to the starting lineup, Karley Miller battled in the paint all afternoon, grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds, her second consecutive contest with double-digit boards.
Coming off the bench, Madison Lee contributed seven big points for the Lady Flames, adding three rebounds in 14 minutes. Four Lee players tossed in five points, including Mary Jackson, who added three steals.
Lee shot 38 percent from the field, hitting just 29 percent in the second half after 13-of-29 (45 percent) shooting in the first frame. Brewton-Parker hit 44 percent of their shots overall, but had only three attempts behind the arc, missing all three.
The Lady Barons won the turnover battle, 23-21, but Lee dominated the boards, registering 44 rebounds, compared to 23 for the home team.
Crystal Nwaopora was the leader for the Lady Barons (9-8, 4-4 SSAC), turning in team highs with 15 points and five rebounds. Porshia Cleveland added eight points.
Lee will enjoy the road win for a short time, as the Lady Flames return to Walker Arena, Monday evening at 6 p.m. They will host Truett-McConnell College, under the direction of head coach Matt Sanders. Sanders is in his first year with the Lady Bears after assisting for the Lee men’s and women’s basketball teams for three years.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Matt (Sanders). He is doing a good job at Truett-McConnell and we hope to see some people come out and embrace him coming back,” concluded Rowe.