MOBILE, Ala. — Lee University’s 15th-ranked men’s basketball team completed a sweep of Auburn Montgomery and the University of Mobile on Saturday evening by defeating the host and previously undefeated Rams, 67-55.
Red-hot shooting by Chase Dunn in the opening minutes and an eight straight point surge by Will Barnes midway in the second half sparked the Flames to a 17 point lead at 10:52 mark, their biggest of the game. Mobile led only once early in the first half by a single point.
The win pushes the surging Flames to 7-0 overall and more importantly 2-0 in Southern States Athletic Conference play. Mobile drops to 3-1 and 1-1 in conference action.
Coach Tommy Brown called the weekend sweep "huge" for his Flames. "It took another entire team effort," he noted. "We had to use three big men against their post players. Pat (Shaughnessy) fouled out. Big Steve (Bennett) had four fouls and so did (Muniru) Bawa. We had to push Chad (Lee) inside and he never backs away from anyone."
Barnes finished the contest with 20 points after scoring only five in the opening 20 minutes. Dunn totaled 16 and had only four points in the second stanza.
"If those two ever put two good halves together, it would really be something," commented Brown.
Once again, Chad Lee was the rebounding leader with 11 and Bawa followed with five as the Flames out-rebounded the taller Rams 35-29. Lee also did an excellent job of taking care of the basketball, committing just 10 turnovers, the same as Mobile.
For the game the Flames shot a solid 50 percent overall from the field (26-of-52). They struggled somewhat from behind the arc, hitting just 3-of-10 but went to the line 16 times and canned 12.
The Lee defense held Mobile to just 28 percent shooting for the game. The Rams converted 5-of-16 treys and marched to the free-throw line 28 times, connecting on 20.
Chris Richardson paced the Mobile scoring with 14 points. Kwane Beard and Dominick Brumsfield had 11 apiece.
The Flames will have a long break, taking next week off for Thanksgiving and then return to action on Nov. 30 when they face another big weekend series, hosting Loyola (La.) and Spring Hill (Ala.).
Flames 87, AUM 67
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Paced by outstanding shooting by senior guard Chase Dunn early in the second half, the Lee Flames out-scored host Auburn Montgomery 52-33 in the second 20 minutes and went on to open the Southern States Athletic Conference season with an impressive 87-67 road win.
The Flames led only 35-34 at the break but the play of Dunn got Lee off to a tremendous start in the second half and they never looked back. Dunn canned 3 3-pointers and a two-point field goal in the first four minutes of the second half and helped Lee build a 50-45 advantage.
From that point forward, the entire team seemed to catch fire with Will Barnes, Corey Billingsley and Chad Lee helping lead the charge. By the time the contest reached the six-minute mark, Lee was comfortably on top, 78-56 and coach Brown was able to go deep into his bench to allow several of his regulars a little rest before Saturday’s key battle at the University of Mobile.
"We were terrible in the first half, didn't seem to have our focus and were not moving our legs on defense," said Brown. "We had a serious talk at the halftime break and what else can I say, we were just an entirely different team in the second half and a lot of different players helped give us the lift we needed."
After shooting a solid 42 percent overall in the first half and making 6-of-16 3-point shots, the Flames shot a blistering 65 percent overall in the second 20 minutes and 46 percent from behind the arc. They finished the contest with a 54 percent average from the field and 41 percent from behind the arc.
Three Lee players posted double-figure points. Barnes paved the way with 21 markers. Dunn followed closely with 19. Billingsley had his moments by making 3-of-4 treys and totaling 15 points, while big Steve Bennett countered with eight points and eight rebounds. Duran Blue tallied nine points and tied Dunn in the assist department with six.
But again, the unsung hero was sophomore Chad Lee. He scored only two points but grabbed eight rebounds and came away with five big steals. Munira Bawa saw his share of action, ramming home a pair of dunks and finishing the evening with seven points.
The Warhawks (1-3) were paced by Michael Willis with 17 points, Reshad Bickham came off the bench to tally 17 and LeRel Jackson totaled 10 points. Lee won the rebounding battle 39-33. The Flames were guilty of 17 turnovers and AUM committed 18.
"We've got to play a very tough Mobile team in less than 24 hours and our guys have to rise to the challenge," noted Brown. "As usual Mobile will have a well coached basketball team and it will take 40 minutes of solid play for us to produce another big road win."