Lions remain undefeated at home

With the official start of the spring 2011 semester, the Lions were scheduled to host their first game with students on campus since Dec. 1. Last Wednesday night, students and fans alike packed the University Center for the annual Jam the Jungle event and to watch the Lions take on the Cowboys of McNeese State. The Lions faced a tough challenge as McNeese State entered the night unbeaten in conference play and in command of the SLC East.

Led by junior forward DeShawn Patterson and senior guard Trent Hutchins, the Lions would prevail as the duo combined for 41 of the Lions 80 points.

Southeastern was down 4-9 early in the first period, but a big block by forward David Ndoumba led to a slam dunk on the other end by Patterson. This got fans to their feet and set the tone for the remainder of night.

“It was electric today in here. I feel the crowd helped us out. It got coach motivated, pumping the crowd up; I was pumping the crowd up. It was just a lot of energy,” said Patterson, who tied a career high with 21 points on the night.

The Lions took their first lead of the night with 12:59 remaining in the first half and kept the game close until inside the final five minutes of the first half. There, the Lions caught flame and would not trail again. After a series of turnovers and transition points, the Lions increased their lead to double digits, going on a 15-4 run.

The Lions ended the half highlighted by sophomore forward Roosevelt Johnson knocking down a turnaround jumper with the buzzer sounding. This gave the Lions a 43-31 lead headed into the locker room.

“Anytime you can create easy baskets it gives you an advantage. If you can get eight to 10 transition buckets a night you’re usually going to win the game,” said Head Coach Jim Yarbrough.

To begin the second half, the Lions continued to add fuel to the fire, opening the second half with an 11-0 run increasing the lead 54-33 with 16-minutes remaining in the game. Over a six-minute span, the Lions scored 11 points while holding the Cowboys to just five. With 10:00 of basketball left to play, the Lions possessed their biggest lead of the night going up 65-38 over the league-leading Cowboys. The deal looked sealed for the Lions, but things would drastically change. After a 12 minute delay, on a review of a double technical foul, the Lions lead began to diminish.

“All of a sudden we looked stiff and bored and looked like we were in a great flow about to finish the game out. So, it was disturbing that we couldn’t finish like we needed to,” said Coach Yarbrough.

The Lions struggled from the free-throw line as they saw a once 27 point lead drop to as little as three. But, the Lions were able to run out the clock to seal an 80-77 victory over McNeese.

“It was disturbing that we couldn’t finish off with the free throws and make it happened but we did what we needed to and otherwise a good performance tonight,” said Yarbrough.