No. 18 Lee Men Win Over West Florida
Saturday, January 23, 2021
The No. 18 Lee men's basketball team made it six wins in a row thanks to a 53-point second half as the Flames rolled past West Florida, 83-70 on Friday evening in Walker Arena.
The red-hot Flames went 20 of 28 from the field and 7 of 12 (58.3 percent) from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes to overcome a four-point halftime deficit.
Jayce Willingham led the way with 25 points and canned 5 of 8 from deep. Michael McGuirk had and extra bounce in his step as he continues to battle back from knee injury last season and went 6 of 8 form the field to finish with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Redshirt freshman Noah Boler scored a career-high 15 points with two electrifying dunks.
Quay Kennedy made it four-players in double-figures with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists.
"I thought we played some really good unselfish ball in the second half and it was nice to see shots start to fall," said Lee head coach Bubba Smith. "I think are run in the second half was set up by our defensive intensity but we shared the basketball and got some good looks and guys started knocking down shots. It was good to see Jayce, Mike, Makhi and Noah get us rolling."
The Flames went 32 of 55 from the field (58.2 percent) and 11 of 24 (45.8 percent) from the 3-point line. Lee cashed in 8 of 12 from the foul line. The Argos hit 26 of 55 (47.3 percent) and were 10 of 22 (45 percent) from the line.
The two teams jockeyed back and forth for the first four minutes of the second half before Lee caught fire. The Flames tied things up on a breakaway dunk by Boler with 15:47 left to jumpstart a 24-9 run that put the game away. Redshirt freshman Makhi McGuire got in on the fun as he connected on three triples in a two-minute stretch of the second half to account for his nine points.
The Argonauts were paced by 23 points from big man Conor Flanagan. The versatile forward canned 5 of 7 from the 3-point line and grabbed six boards. Akili Vining finished with 15 points and Wendell Matthews added 10.
"This team is young, and I think we have a really high ceiling. If we keep fighting and stay hungry with a growth mindset, I think we have a chance to put something special together. I'm excited for the future," said Smith.
The win moves Lee to 6-1 on the year as they avenged its only loss of the year on opening night at West Florida. The Argonauts fall to 2-4 on the year. The two teams will wrap up the season series on Saturday at 2 p.m.
"These second games of the back-to-back tend to favor the team that lost the night before so we need to bring the intensity again tomorrow because we know we will get their best shot," concluded Smith.