MEN’S BASKETBALL: Lamar State keeps hopes of region tourney alive with 77-72 win over Lee

Published 7:51 pm Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lamar State sports information

Lamar State College Port Arthur kept its hopes of reaching the NJCAA Region XIV Tournament alive with a critical 77-72 win over Lee College on Saturday afternoon at the Carl Parker Center.

Now, the Seahawks (11-15 overall, 4-11 in conference) have four games left in the final run to the tournament. The Hawks get Jacksonville College at 7 p.m. Monday at the Carl Parker Center, then hit the road for Brenham where they will face Blinn College at 7 p.m. Wednesday night. The season wraps up with the final home game for the Hawks on Saturday, Feb. 24, against San Jacinto College, followed by a road trip to the Valley where they will take on Coastal Bend College.

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“All season, we’ve preached ‘T & T,’ Team Togetherness and Toughness,” LSCPA head coach Lance Madison said. “You saw that tonight against a good Lee team. We’re focused, we feel good. We are facing two of the better teams in the conference coming up and we need to maintain our momentum.”

The Seahawks showed remarkable poise against Lee with the Rebels coming to Port Arthur desperate for a win after losing to LSCPA in the first round of South Zone play.

“I told our guys, we need to stay even, stay focused, stay calm and maintain our game plan,” Madison said. “We showed a lot of control tonight.”

The Hawks battled inside to claim their win Saturday, shooting just 10 three-pointers, hitting two, in the game. In the paint, the Seahawks scored 28 points, taking full advantage of second and third opportunities on offensive rebounds and put-backs. LSCPA scored 20 points off turnovers as they forced 19 takeaways in the game. The Seahawks out-rebounded Lee 36-22.

And while the Seahawks worked to make the inside scoring its offensive bread-and-butter of the night, Lee opted for the long ball and hit true to keep the game close. The Rebels knocked down 9 of 15 from beyond the arc with Collin Means dropping in 5 of 9 attempts. He finished the game with 17 points.

The Seahawks stretched out to as much as a six-point lead in the first half on two occasions, the last time at the 8:44 mark at 23-17.

Lee started chipping away at that lead, coming up with the advantage five minutes later, 25-24. In spite of extending that lead to four points late in the half, the Hawks managed to regain the lead, 38-35, with 6 second left until the half. Lee’s J’Von McCormick, who led all scorers with 28 points, hit a buzzer-beating three to tie the game heading into the locker room.

In a back-and-forth battle, the Seahawks led most of the second half, only giving up the advantage twice through the final 20 minutes.

Leading by just a point with 1:39 left in the game, freshman guard Tevin Baker hit a clutch three-pointer to give the Hawks a four-point lead at 73-69. Strong defense and nice shooting from the free throw line by freshman guard Alex Williams and sophomore Devin Ellis clinched the victory.

Ellis finished with a team-best 16 points and eight rebounds, while Williams added 14 points for the Hawks. Rodney Brown scored 13 with eight rebounds and four blocked shots, and Ethan White finished with 12 points and four assists.