CARROLLTON, Ga. - The Lee men's basketball team saw their comeback effort fall just short as they lost to the University of West Georgia, 76-68 in a Gulf South Conference (GSC) battle Thursday night.
Despite trailing by as many as 16 in the first half and falling behind at the break 47-34 the Flames stormed back in the second half and cut the deficit to just a single point at 63-62 with 6:08 remaining.
The Wolves would roar back however and used a 13-6 run in the final six minutes to close out the victory. Lee outscored West Georgia 34-29 in the final period.
"We gave a tremendous effort in the second half. That 15-minute stretch was the best we've played all season." said coach Tommy Brown.
The Flames climbed back into to the contest thanks to a solid shooting performance. Lee hit 26-of-50 (52 pecent) from the field while connecting on 11-of-14 (78 percent) from the charity stripe. The Wolves were very efficient offensively as well going 28-of-54 (52 percent) from the floor and 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) from the foul line.
Both clubs took care of the basketball as Lee committed just 11 turnovers while West Georgia was guilty of only seven floor mistakes. The Flames grabbed 27 rebounds compared to 28 for the home team and each club tallied 36 points in the paint and hit five 3's.
Freshman Jamal Worthington led the Flames with 18 points. Corey Billingsley added 13 and five rebounds while Tyquan Roberts scored 11 points to give Lee three players in double-figures.
The Flames' freshmen point guards produced as well. Bryce Copeland made the most of his first college start as he nailed a pair of treys while drawing the difficult assignment of guarding the Wolves leading scorer Deonta Stocks. Stedmond Ford, still hampered by a leg injury, added nine points, three boards and three assists off the bench.
"Bryce Copeland gave us another really solid effort and we relied heavily on our other freshmen and they stepped up for us." remarked Brown. " I was proud of our guys for fighting to the end tonight."
Brown would go on to single out his team's execution in the second half, "We did a nice job tonight with our gameplan and forced them to have to make some really tough shots. Overall I thought we did a good job moving our feet and played well defensively."
The Wolves were led by Stocks who scored a game-high 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Stocks was 3-of-3 from 3-point range and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Stephan Thompson added 14 and Lavon Gray recorded 13 to round out the double-figure scoring for West Georgia.
The loss drops the Flames to 9-16 overall and 5-14 in the rugged GSC. West Georgia concludes their regular season with a 18-11 record and an even 10-10 mark in conference play.
The Flames will close out the 2013-14 season with a visit to rival Shorter University on Saturday afternoon. Tip time from Rome, Ga. is set for 3 p.m.