The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
The Lamar State College-Port Arthur Seahawks had something to prove … to themselves if no one else.
In a rematch of the second game of the season – a loss for the Seahawks – Lamar State-Port Arthur rolled to a 77-66 win over Pensacola (Fla.) State College in the second day of play at the New Year’s Classic at the Carl Parker Center in Port Arthur.
Pensacola, in its own home tournament at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, erased an 18-point Seahawks lead to hand LSC-PA its first loss of the year 80-71. Since that time, the Seahawks have won 11 of 12 games.
“During that game, I saw some of our guys get down and we started blaming each other for the position we were in at the time,” LSC-PA Head Coach Lance Madison said. “When we faced adversity tonight, we didn’t start bickering among ourselves. We focused on what we needed to do to win the game and we got that done. That shows a lot of maturity and growth by this team since the first time we faced Pensacola.”
Utilizing its big inside game, Pensacola was able to get up on Lamar State by as many as three points midway through the first half. But the Seahawks were relentless on offense, retaking the lead and going ahead by as many as five before settling for a 35-33 lead at the halftime break.
Pensacola managed to tie the game three more times early in the second half but was unable to get out in front of the Seahawks again. A couple of Evan White free throws put the Hawks out front by 7 with 11:30 left in the game but the Pirates managed to whittle that lead to two with 9:30 left.
Again, the Seahawks went on an offensive run, pushing the lead to 11 on a pair of free throws from JoJo Mooring at the 5:40 mark.
“We have a tendency that when we get a lead, we relax,” Madison said. “I told our guys that we needed to maintain our intensity on defense and not give them any easy buckets.”
Though Pensacola would close the game to within four twice more in the game, that would be as close as it would get as the Seahawks picked up the win to move to 12-2 overall this season.
“There’s a certain point when we were getting more aggressive getting to the rim, drawing some fouls and going to the free throw line instead of settling for quick jump shots,” Madison explained.
In fact, the Hawks were 4 of 7 from the line in the first half but shot an additional 25 free throws in the second half to finish 22 of 32 for the game.
Seahawks sophomore Tre Bennett led the way again with 26 points, knocking down 5 of 7 3-pointers and 7 of 9 free throws in the game. Sophomore Jamal Shabazz scored 16 points with six rebounds and D.J. Blanks scored 11 points. Freshman JoJo Mooring just missed a double-double performance with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore Anthony Allen, who leads the nation in blocked shot average at 6.0 a game, picked up seven more blocks against Pensacola to go with eight points and four rebounds.
In the early game of the New Year’s Classic on Tuesday, Mineral Area College topped El Centro College 77-63.
The Seahawks return to action this Saturday with a Region XIV game at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City, La. The game tips off at 4 p.m. and can be seen live at athletics.lamarpa.edu.