Lions win against HBU on C.A. Core Day

Junior forward Eddy Polanco battles to keep the Lions in the hunt for a second half comeback. This victory against Houston Baptist University ensures the unbeaten record at home for the Lions stays intact.   
Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion's Roar 

The Lions extended their winning streak at home to 16 games and got their best conference start 5-2 since the 2004-05 season after registering a victory against Houston Baptist University at C.A. Core Day.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, five players got double figure points to inspire a second half comeback for the Lions after they trailed Houston Baptist by five points in the first half.

“We just played Houston Baptist a very big, physical basketball team compared to us and very well-coached and they beat us at Houston Baptist,” said Head Coach Jay Ladner. “We knew it was going to be a war. We prepared for that. We knew from the opening tip. I don’t think, this year, our players have been as locked in as they were tonight, and I was very proud of them.”




Ladner credits the determination of his players for the win, which was their first against this opposition after three straight losses to them on previous occasions. 

“They battled, they played together,” said Ladner. “You couldn’t doubt their effort and their competitiveness and their pride. They gritted. It was a tough, hard-fought basketball game against a determined team that was desperate themselves to get a win, and they came in and gave us their best shot.”

The victory also was a payback for the Lions, who faced their first conference loss of this season away at Houston Baptist.

“First time we went down there, we were kind of lackadaisical and this time we were desperate,” said junior guard Davon Hayes. “They were desperate to win because they know if they lose this game, that puts them closer to the last place. We just had to come out here and play hard.”

However, the victory did not come the easy way. Lions had to work hard to get 50 points in the second half to protect their unbeaten record at home. 

“Even at halftime, when we were down by five, I felt like our guys were playing,” said Ladner. “I thought that the last possession of the first half was a great example. Certainly, 50 points against one of the better defensive teams in our league. I thought it was a great team effort. It was a product of our preparation, which has been good. So, the 50 points was a product of efficiency, smart play, team play and execution.”

During the halftime, the university and state officials honored Southeastern legend and 2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame C.A Core for his contribution to Southeastern basketball. Ladner was very clear about what Core meant to the current team.

“We need more C.A Cores,” said Ladner. “People love winning teams and we wanna do something where 20 years from now, or in C.A Core’s case, 50 years from now, people are still talking about you. When people remember you in 50 years, you’ve done something special and we were very proud to win tonight in C.A. Core’s honor.”  

The victory was also a tribute to the team effort shown by the Lions. Sophomore forward Moses Greenwood had 17 points, seven rebounds and five steals for the game, following his 22 points and eight rebounds tally against the same opposition earlier this month. Redshirt junior forward James Currington, Hayes, sophomore guard Marlain Veal and redshirt junior guard Jabbar Singleton also scored in double figures. 

The Lions hope to extend their unbeaten home record against Northwestern State on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and Ladner is expecting a great turnout for the game.

“Our players are representing Southeastern Louisiana at a very high level with tremendous amount of class and pride,” said Ladner. “I would love, for next Wednesday night, for us to have a great crowd in here.”

Friends and family of C.A. Core, left, were present during the halftime as Core was honored by the university for his contributions to Lions basketball. 
Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion's Roar