Senior Day ends with Lions third at home loss

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Before the game, senior center Dominic Nelson, right, was honored on Senior Day for his contribution to Lion basketball. 
Nikisun Shrestha/ The Lion's Roar

The Lions basketball team was defeated at home for the second time in a row by Stephen F. Austin State University on Senior Day.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Lumberjacks handed the Lions a 60-52 loss to make the Lion’s record 14-14 for the season.

“Very perplexing game,” said Head Coach Jay Ladner. “I thought defensively, particularly first 15-16 minutes of the game, we were locked in and prepared. But, you gotta make free throws. We’re 14-28 from the line. We weren’t shooting the basketball particularly well. We were a little bit limited in that area at times. We got some guys that can shoot the ball, but we’ve been incredibly inconsistent recently. It’s either feast or famine. Tonight was one of those times when we were not shooting very well. Turned the ball over a few too many times. Just soft play.” 

Ladner thought the team lacked toughness during key moments in the game.

“We out-rebounded them, but by the same token, there were some key rebounds where we got out-toughed on,” said Ladner. “They wanted it more than we did. We preached to the players it’s going to be a tough man’s game. I thought, for the most part, we were in the right spots but we just didn’t get it done.”

Before the game, senior center Dominic Nelson was honored by the university for his services on the occasion of Senior Day. Ladner congratulated Nelson on his contributions for the team.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a player improve as much as he has in such a short period of time,” said Ladner. “I even called him last year, about the second week. I said, ‘You got to do better.’ I am very proud of him. In a short period of time, he has developed closer to his potential. I say that in great admiration for him.” 

On the same day, fans saw former players and coaches came together to form an Alumni Reunion. One former player and long time official Charlie McCarthy was present in the reunion. McCarthy spoke of his time at the university and about Lions basketball.   

“It’s wonderful,” said McCarthy. “I haven’t been back here for quite some time and probably I’m the oldest one. I came to Southeastern in 1942 on a basketball scholarship from Quincy, Massachusetts. I was recruited along with nine football players from Boston. The people were wonderful. They accepted me, and I got to enjoy living here. I officiated in the Southeastern conference for 26 years. That is major basketball. Southeastern is what we call mid-major, but the level of play is very, very good.” 

The Lions have three games left to advance in the Southland Conference. Ladner spoke about the challenges and his hopes from the games remaining.

“At this point of the year, teams are going to find you out,” said Ladner. “I’m proud that we’re still playing important games at this point of the year. That’s great progress for our program. These are key games in the conference race. One of our big goals was to have a winning season. That hasn’t happened in a while. We’re sitting there in a position to control our own destiny.”

The Lions host Central Arkansas next on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m.  

 

Junior guard Davon Hayes, left, shoots a free throw. The Lions were 14-28 from the line.
Nikisun Shrestha/ The Lion's Roar