Lions top Demons 95-92 in power outage


Brynn Lundy/The Lion’s Roar

Senior guard Von Julien brings the ball down the court in Saturday’s 95-92 victory over Northwestern State University. With the win the Lions improved their regular season record to 7-22, Julien finished the game with eight points, two rebounds and three assists.

After losing eight games in a row, the university men’s basketball team secured a victory over Northwestern State at the Senior Day game on Saturday, Feb. 29, with a final score of 95-92.

To start off the game, senior guard Von Julien put the team in the lead by scoring the first two points with a jump shot. Junior forward Brandon Gonazales brought the Lions up 36-19 after scoring six three-pointers within the first 11 minutes. With less than eight minutes left in the first half, a power outage stopped play for almost two hours.

When play resumed after the power returned, the Lions maintained their lead on the Demons and finished the first half 47-40. The Demons brought the game to a 51-51 tie within the first five minutes of the second half, but the Lions kept fighting back, maintaining a steady, yet close lead on the Demons.

With 1:19 left on the clock, the score was tied at 89-89. The Demons scored a free throw, giving them a one-point lead on the Lions until sophomore guard Ty Brewer scored in the paint. Freshman forward Nick Caldwell brought the Lions to 93 points with two free throws at the 14-second mark. With less than one second left on the clock, Brewer scored the final two points of the game with a dunk.

Head coach David Kiefer commented on how it felt to bring home this victory after the team had been on a losing streak.

“For us being in last place right now, the last two days of practice leading into this game, the guys’ enthusiasm and effort was unbelievable,” expressed Kiefer. “It’s just really a credit to those guys for not giving up because they could easily go out there and be ready for the season to be over. The resilience tonight and the last couple days, I’m really proud of.”

Kiefer explained how the overall rhythm of things changed after the power outage.

“It was probably the best shooting game we’ve ever had this whole year—get 36 points in the first 11 minutes of the game, and we’re hitting threes and all that,” explained Kiefer. “Power goes out, and the ball wouldn’t go in as much, but the part that bothered me more was that the defensive intensity wasn’t the same when the power goes off. That has nothing to do with the ball going in, that’s just effort.”

Julien scored the first points of the game and finished with a total of eight points at the end of the night. He commented on what it is like to be the only senior on the team.

“It’s a little tough with a lot of freshman guys on the team because you really have to show them the way and show them the ropes,” shared Julien. “You learn a lot about yourself, like being patient, because these are a lot of new guys. You just learn how to be a better leader.”

Julien felt that the energy shifted with the team and the crowd when coming back into play after the power outage.

“I think it killed momentum,” said Julien. “We had Brandon Gonzales with like 15 points. We had the crowd, everybody getting into it. That energy, I feel like, wasn’t there right after.”

The Lions’ next match is a home game against Central Arkansas on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m.