The stage appeared to be set for some more Walker Arena heroics on Saturday night as the Lee men’s basketball team was all tied up at 75 with Shorter University at the end of regulation.
The Flames, coming off Thursday’s last second victory over West Georgia, saw the Hawks flip the script in the overtime period as they outscored the home team 18-10 to secure a 93-85 road victory.
Chad Lee drained a triple with 1:36 remaining in regulation to put the Flames up 73-70. Shorter appeared to be on the ropes the very next possession after an acrobatic block from Jamal Worthington got the home crowd on its feet. The freshman was unable to keep the ball in play however, and moments later the Hawks tied things up with a 3-pointer from Kurtis Woods.
The two clubs exchanged buckets in the final minute, leading to a steal from Thursday’s hero Cory Billingsley with only four seconds remaining in regulation. The junior threw up a shot from half-court as time expired that came up short of the mark.
“I just thought we ran out of gas tonight in overtime” lamented head coach Tommy Brown. “We couldn’t get stops at the end of the game when we needed them, and that has been a problem for us all year. Shorter is a very fast, athletic team and they were off on Thursday so they came in well-rested.”
Worthington led the Flames with a career-high 19 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the field. Lee registered a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards. The junior finished 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Billingsley and Tyquan Roberts rounded out the double-figure scoring with 14 and 10 respectively.
“Jamal really showed his athletic ability tonight. He is very young and makes some mistakes but we need him out on the floor to be successful.” said Brown. “I thought Chad had nice game as well, and really showed a lot of toughness battling through some back issues.”
Lee shot 41.2 percent (28-of-68) from the field and hit 9-of-22 from 3-point range. The Hawks shot 49.3 percent in the contest and 44.4 percent (8-of-18) from beyond the arc. Both teams struggled from the charity stripe as the Flames converted just 58.8 percent (20-of-34) from the foul line while the Hawks connected on only 54.3 percent (19-of-35) of its freebies.
Both teams were guilty of 14 floor mistakes but the Hawks made the most of the gifts as they outscored the Flames 21-9 in points off turnovers. Shorter held a slight 44-41 advantage on the glass.
“I thought we gave a good effort and definitely got great support from our fans,” added Brown.
Travis Jones led the Hawks with 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field. Jordan Jacks added 23 points and 15 rebounds while Dedric Ware gave the Georgia club three players with 20-plus points as he tallied 21 markers.
The loss drops the Flames to 7-9 overall and 3-7 in the Gulf South Conference. The victory moves the Hawks back to even at 8-8 overall and 5-5 in conference play. The two clubs will finish out the regular season together on March 1 in Rome, Ga.
Brown’s club will look to get its first road victory of the year as the Flames head to Pensacola, Fla., to tangle with West Florida on Thursday at 8 p.m. From there, the Flames travel to Georgia to battle Valdosta State. Lee defeated both teams earlier in the year at Walker Arena.