Lee Falls To Union In Final Minutes
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Just like in the loss to North Alabama on Saturday, Lee played excellent basketball for 30 minutes only to see host Union University battle back in the final minutes to pull out a 69-66 victory over the frustrated Flames.
With 11:10 remaining, freshman Stedmon Ford nailed a 3-point shot and put Lee up 53-40. Coach Tommy Brown's team appeared to be in great shape heading down the stretch. Slowly but surely the hungry Bulldogs finally tied the contest at 64 with 1:23 remaining and then took a 67-64 lead on a 3-point play by Corieon Pearson.
Lee bounced back and cut the lead to 67-66 on a basket by Corey Billingsley but Union's Roy Bullock secured the win for the Bulldogs by hitting a pair of free throws with only 3.1 seconds remaining. A desperation shot by Billingsley as the final horn sounded came up just short.
"For 30 minutes we were the better team again tonight," said a disappointed Brown after his Flames slipped to 6-4 overall and 2-2 in the Gulf South Conference. "We are young and inexperienced and it shows against the veteran teams that we are playing in this league. They turned it up a notch in the final five minutes and the fans got behind them. We could not get a stop and failed to execute our offense in those final minutes."
Lee held a 32-28 lead at the half and never trailed in the second stanza until Pearson's 3-point play with some 43 seconds remaining. The Flames and Bulldogs were dead even in the rebounding department (16) at the half but Union ended up winning the battle on the boards 32-29.
"With the game on the line in the final five minutes they turned on the heat and crashed the boards, getting the key rebounds and most of the loose balls," noted Brown. "I thought we had a good game plan and executed well until those final minutes. Our growing pains have shown in the past two games. Hopefully, we can play better for an entire game when we return to Walker Arena on Thursday."
Freshman Jamal Worthington paced Lee's balanced scoring with 14 points. Tyquan Roberts tallied 13 and Billingsley finished with 12. Chad Lee canned a pair of 3-pointers and added nine markers, while Ford totaled seven points. "Tyquan was playing well but we failed to get the basketball to him down low in the final minutes," pointed out the Lee coach.
The Flames shot 49 percent from the field (27-of-55) but managed to convert just 4-of-13 treys. They also missed some key free throws down the stretch and finished the evening by converting on 8-of-12 attempts.
The Bulldogs made the best of their march to the charity stripe, nailing 17-of-18. Ashanti Day paced the Union comeback with a double-double, 17 points and 10 rebounds. Pearson and Bullock each carded 15 points, while Pedro Faller was 5-of-5 from the foul line and tallied nine points.
Union shot 44 percent from the field but struggled from behind the arc, making only 2-of-15. Both teams took care of the basketball with Lee making eight floor mistakes and the Bulldogs only six.
Lee returns to action on Thursday and will host Delta State (Cleveland, Miss.) in the second game of a Gulf South doubleheader. The Lady Flames kick off the evening by testing the GSC's team picked to win the conference in a 6 p.m. start.