The Lee University Flames and the Tennessee Temple Crusaders will meet for the 87th time this evening at 7 p.m. in Walker Arena. The Flames hold a 55-31 advantage in the series and Lee walked away with wins of 77-68 and 60-50 last season.
Both clubs are off to a 1-0 start. The Flames ran past visiting Tennessee Wesleyan on Saturday evening, 102-66. Temple turned back Bryan College, 56-45 in a defensive struggle. Lee will turn right around and host Bryan on Saturday at 2:15 in the annual Lee Homecoming game.
The Flames shot 47 percent overall from the field and 46 percent from behind the arc in the win over TWC. Will Barnes and Chase Dunn captured the attention of the Lee fans. Both are transfers from Tennessee Tech University and each displayed their NCAA Division I experience.
Barnes hit 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range and finished the night with 29 points. Dunn made four treys in seven attempts and completed his evening with 23 markers. Big Steve Bennett started his senior season by posting a double-double, 11 points, and 11 rebounds. Bennett added two steals and two blocked shots. Sophomore Chad Lee also collected 11 rebounds.
While Barnes and Dunn, which sounds like a singing group, were on top of their shooting games, senior point guard Duran Blue did a nice job of running the fluid Lee offense. He had 10 assists, eight points and five rebounds. But the stat coach Tommy Brown liked most was only two turnovers by his point guard in over 29 minutes of playing time. Sophomore Corey Billingsley added 10 points to the scoring total.
Temple’s win over Bryan was paced by 6-foot-2 sophomore Weedlens Beauvil. The guard from Bartow, Fla., had 14 points. Next came Rashaud Bell, a 6-foot-8 sophomore from Atlanta. He had 13 points. John Jones, a junior from Marietta, Ga., grabbed six rebounds.
The Crusaders are under the direction of Brac Brady. In his first season at Temple, Brady spent seven years as the head basketball coach and athletic director at the University of Maine-Machias before accepting the new challenge at Temple.
After the Temple and Bryan games, the Flames will be back on the hardwood next Tuesday at 7 p.m. hosting Virginia Intermont College.