PENSACOLA, Fla. —
Charles Bennett III’s nickname is “Tre” because of his name. After Friday night in Pensacola, you could argue he should be called “Trey” instead.
Bennett rained down 3-pointers in the season-opener for Lamar State College-Port Arthur, leading the Seahawks to a convincing 84-61 win over Gulf State (Fla.) College at the first day of the Pensacola State College Tipoff Classic. Bennett dropped in five 3-pointers and finished with 23 points. He hit all five of his attempts from beyond the arc and was 4 of 5 from the free throw line. He added five rebounds in the game.
The Hawks play again today (Saturday) at 7:30 p.m. when they face tournament host team Pensacola State.
While the Seahawks managed to run away with the game Friday night, Lamar State limped through much of the first half, struggling with their shooting from the field.
“The guys were a little bit eager. They needed to relax and settle down. Sometimes you can try too hard and miss some easy shots,” Seahawks Head Coach Lance Madison said. “I told them to relax and get some defensive stops, that our defense would create some offense for us and help us get into a rhythm and a flow.”
Late in the first half, the Seahawks did just that behind the inside work of sophomore center Anthony Allen. He hit for 11 points in the game and eventually would dominate the paint with six blocks and six rebounds. He led the nation a year ago in blocked shots.
“I knew Anthony was going to be a focal point for a lot of defenses so I wanted to make sure we got some shooters out there this year,” Madison said.
That plan certainly paid off.
Besides Bennett’s five first-half points, JoJo Mooring added six and Erik Durham hit for five in the first 20 minutes. “Erik Durham did well off the bench. He came in with a lot of poise and hit a couple of 3s for us and got some rebounds,” Madison said of the freshman. “JoJo Mooring came in a got us a couple of big baskets and that set the tone for us for the rest of the first half.”
Mooring finished with 16 points and five rebounds while Durham, who ended up with eight points, picked up six rebounds and two steals.
While the second half did indeed belong to Houston sophomore Bennett, sophomore Jamal Shabazz came alive after being held for just two first-half points. Shabazz finished with 11 points and led the Seahawks with 10 rebounds for his first double-double performance of the season.
“I thought we did a better job of keeping them off the glass in the second half and controlling their dribble penetration,” Madison said. “We played a pretty good game the second half.”
Elliott Cole led Gulf Coast State with 22 points, while Jonathan Wade added 19 for the Commodores.