The Lee University men’s basketball team, spurred on behind a career high 32 points for PJay Smith, defeated Auburn University-Montgomery 101-90 on Saturday afternoon. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Flames and kept them in second place in the GSC just one game out of first place. The 101 points was the most points scored in a contest for Lee since scoring 104 points against Brescia in 2018.
The Flames came out firing with a three pointer from Beyuan Hendricks and Smith and a jumper from Jayce Willingham.
They pushed the lead all the way to 18-6 before the first media timeout. The 12-point lead would end up being the largest of the contest. AUM fell into some rhythm and brought the game back down to 27-25 with ten minutes left in the first half. Michael McGuirk and Makhi McGuire then answered for Lee as the lead went back out to 31-25.
The Warhawks continued to battle, and they took the lead for the first time at 38-36 with 4:30 left in the first half. After that, McGuire and Joseph Lanzi each got called for a technical foul with 3:25 left in the period. Neither team was able to score in the last several minutes and the Flames took a 41-40 lead into the halftime break.
The second half was a game of runs. The two teams traded the lead four times and had four ties as well. Lee took the lead at 51-45 before AUM stormed back and went on top 54-53. The two teams traded buckets until Tim Vaughn made a three-point shot to give the Flames a 63-56 lead with 12:56 left in the contest.
After that point, AUM never led again. The lead was cut down to one point, but the Flames never trailed again. Every time AUM cut the gap down, Hendricks, Smith, or Willingham hit a three-point shot. In the last ninety seconds of the game, the Flames were 12-for-12 from the free throw line to seal the win.
Head Coach Bubba Smith was very pleased with the win. “I’m proud of our guys tonight. We had plenty of opportunities to let some tough plays down the stretch affect us, but we found a way to beat a good AUM team and make some big plays when we needed to. They are extremely difficult to beat at home and GSC road wins are so critical this time of year.
This game hopefully prepares us for a tough road stretch coming up at Mississippi College and Delta State. The quick turnaround will be good for us as we head back on the road on Wednesday.”
Smith set a career high 32 points in the win. McGuirk’s 17 points took him over the 1000-point mark in his career. Four Flames scored 15 or more points in the win. Lee was 20-for-26 from the free throw line and set a season high 15 three pointers made. Roderick Smith for AUM scored 32 points in the loss for the Warhawks.
Next week the Flames will head back on the road for two games in the Magnolia State. Lee will take on Mississippi College on Thursday, February 9 at 8:30 PM in Clinton, Mississippi.