New look Lions lock down Millsaps

Lions head coach Jim Yarbrough played his entire active roster last Wednesday in a 74-44 win over the Millsaps Majors. The Lions used defense in the first half to negate any scoring the Majors had planned, holding Millsaps to only nine points.

The Lions got out to a productive start on the offensive end to compliment their defensive effort. Junior forward Roosevelt “Ro” Johnson scored the first points of the game on consecutive buckets in the first two minutes of the game giving the Lions an early 4-0 lead.  

Millsaps did not score their first bucket until the 16:59 mark of the first half on a jumper from guard Nick Cortese, but that would not continue as the Lion defense held the Majors scoreless until the 04:46 mark of the period.

“I thought our defense tonight was pretty energetic, no matter who was in,” said Lions head coach Jim Yarbrough.   

 Over that span, Southeastern went on to increase their lead 28-2, highlighted by senior guard Brandon Fortenberry, scoring seven consecutive points for the Lions. Fortenberry hit a three-pointer with 15:23 left to play, followed by a layup. After forcing a Millsaps turnover, Fortenberry came back down to convert another layup in transition.

“I thought it was great when Brandon Fortenberry went diving for a loose ball and set the tone. I told everybody if your senior can do that then everybody should be able to get on the floor, ” said Yarbrough.

Fortenberry led all players at the half with 13 points, going 4-6 from the field while shooting 60-percent from three-point range.

“My teammates were hitting me, and I was just taking what the defense gave me,” said Fortenberry.

In the second half, Yarbrough went deep into the bench giving all the players some action. The Lions collected 33 points off the bench with 16 in the first half and 17 in the second. Coach Yarbrough was glad to see some of his inexperienced players get some action and play well.

“You want to see when the lights come on who relaxes and has a feel for the game and is poised and runs your stuff,” said Yarbrough. “We’ve got a lot of youth on this team, but I thought the guys played well.”  

The Lions broke the second half open with consecutive buckets from Slovenia native and Vincennes University transfer forward Jan Petrovcic. His buckets were followed by a steal and dunk from Johnson with just over 18:00 to play, increasing their lead to 47-12. From then on, the Lions got a heap of points in the second half from a host of players. At the 15:05 mark, a steal and layup by senior forward Deshawn Patterson gave the Lions their largest lead of the night by a margin of 41 points.

“It’s hard to keep the dog hunting when the dog is up 40 points. Its hard to keep that drive on,” said Yarbrough. “I thought we did a decent job of not looking for the highlight plays and throwing the ball around looking like a LeBron [James] charity game.”

Southeastern would go on to sail a 74-44 victory. Johnson contributed 10 points on the night, while the Lions recieved bench help from sophomore Centenary transfer guard Quinn Cooper with eight points going 2-2 from three and sophomore forward Donavan Ross with 7 points, going 3-for-4 from the field.

Southeastern returns to action tonight versus Spring Hill College at 7 p.m. in the University Center.