Covenant Hoopsters Topple Lee 78-76

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Despite 26 points from sophomore Ryan Montgomery the Lee men's basketball team fell to Covenant College in a close 78-76 battle in the annual homecoming exhibition from Walker Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Down two with just six seconds left the Flames had an opportunity to tie or win in their final possession but were stonewalled by the Scots as Chase Cullen's layup was blocked by Ben Moore. Cullen regained control but his desperation heave fell off target.

Montgomery finished 11 of 17 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range to pace the Flames effort.
Parker Suedekum added 15 points, five assists and five boards while Chase Cullen returned to the court after a year layoff and had 10 points and nine rebounds.

"Ryan played really well today and did about as much as he could. We expected him to have  a really nice day especially in this matchup where his skill and athleticism could really take over," said head coach Bubba Smith. "Unfortunately we didn't have enough guys step up around him and play the way they are capable of playing."

With 6:36 left in the opening half the Flames appeared to be in control of the contest with a 32-21 advantage much to the delight of a capacity home crowd. From there however the scrappy Scots went on a 22-6 run to end the half up 43-38.

The two teams exchanged blows and forced plenty of turnovers in a nip and tuck second half. Lee was guilty of 23 floor mistakes while forcing the Scots into 19. 

"The flow of the game was really weird today with uncharacteristic turnovers and we just never seemed to get into a good rotation," said Smith. "Covenant plays a very small lineup and so that limited some of our options but we knew we were going to be in for a fight and that they would bring energy from the start and that's what they did. I was disappointed in how we handled their pressure. In practices and scrimmages leading up to this contest we did a nice job with pressure but today we got sloppy and careless with the basketball and that hurt us."

Lee shot the ball well from the field (47.5 percent) and the 3-point line (50 percent) but struggled mightily from the charity stripe, converting just 13 of 26 foul shots. The story was much the same for the visitors as Covenant hit 46 percent from the field and 48 percent from beyond the arc but canned just 5 of 15 (33 percent) from the free throw line.

The Scots featured a small ball, heavy guard lineup and shot 31 triples, connecting on 15. James Mitchell led the way as he came off the bench to put in 15 points, hitting five 3-pointers. Berto Dryden and Will Crumly chipped in 12 points each while Caleb Haynes was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field and added 11.

The Flames will officially open up the season next Saturday as they host the GSC/SIAC Crossover from Walker Arena. A showdown with Tuskegee starts things off on Saturday at 5 p.m. before a Sunday afternoon contest against Miles at 4 p.m.

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