Lee Men Top Christian Brothers 84-74
Saturday, February 10, 2018
2017-18 Seniors (L-R) Levi Woods, Chase Cullen, coach Bubba Smith, Isaac Merian, Bryce Copeland.
The Lee men's basketball team jumped out quick and never trailed in knocking off Christian Brothers, 84-74 on Saturday afternoon inside Walker Arena.
After a disappointing loss on Thursday the Flames fired out of the gate and scored the first eight points, six of which were put in by senior Chase Cullen.
Lee would extend the margin all the way to 17 at 36-19 on a jumper by Colton Blevins with 5:07 remaining in the half and would go into the intermission leading 38-27.
The Flames weathered the comeback effort of the Bucs with big 3-point baskets from Cody Jones.
The sophomore finished with 12 points on four triples.
Colton Blevins was a force on both ends of the floor for head coach Bubba Smith. The sophomore big man finished with 18 points, six assists and four rebounds while guarding Adam Dieball, CBU's top player, on defense.
"I obviously thought Colton played well offensively but I really think this was his best defensive performance of the year. He did a great job of making things tough and putting pressure on a great player like Dieball," said Smith.
Lee sizzled offensively connecting on 54.4 percent of their shots from the floor while hitting 9 of 18 from beyond the arc.
Ryan Montgomery heated up in the second half scoring 12 of his 14 points for the Flames. Montgomery, Jones and Blevins combined for 44 points off the bench.
The Flames shared the basketball to the tune of 24 assists and committed just nine turnovers in the contest.
"We just wanted to get a good start today with it being senior day," said Bryce Copeland. "We've got a great group of guys who play hard and are so unselfish so it was nice to get a big win over a really good team today." Copeland finished with nine points, drilling three triples, "It's been a fun ride and I love playing with these guys. They are so resilient and tough and care for another. It's made it a fun and memorable year," concluded Copeland.
All-Conference standouts Jeff Larkin (24 points) Adam Dieball (19 points) led the visiting Bucs. Freshman Jacob Lyons followed with 12 points while Joseph Laravie chipped in 11.
Defensively the Flames limited Christian Brothers to just 43.4 percent shooting from the floor and defend the 3-point line allowing just 6 3-pointers on 22 attempts (27.3 percent).
"The message to our guys was just to relax and have fun," said Smith. "I thought the last few games we were feeling the pressure of February basketball. I thought our seniors did a great job of getting us off to a solid start and the rest of the team followed suite. We played with a lot of energy tonight and our assist to turnover ratio was fantastic and that's when we are really playing our best basketball."
The Flames needed the win to continue to fight and position themselves for a spot in the GSC Tournament. Lee now sits at 13-11 and 8-9 in league play which puts them tied for seventh with North Alabama. The Flames hold the tiebreaker over the Lions due to a head-to-head victory earlier this season.
The loss drops Christian Brothers to 18-7 and 10-7 in the GSC. The Bucs are in fourth place, one-game clear of Montevallo. The top eight teams will qualify for the tournament with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal games on Feb. 27.
Just three games remain in the regular season for the Flames as they will wrap up the home-portion of the schedule on Wednesday against Alabama Huntsville at 8 p.m. Next Saturday Lee will travel to Delta State before wrapping up with a rivalry game down in Rome, Ga. against the Shorter Hawks on Thu. Feb. 22.
Prior to the contest Lee honored seniors Levi Woods, Chase Cullen, Bryce Copeland and Isaac Merian in a special ceremony.