Lions basketball creates history

Junior guard Marlain Veal drives to the basket in the match against Northwestern State University. Veal’s 12 points, eight assists and six steals in the game helped the team to register their sixth win in the conference. Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion’s Roar

The Lions basketball team recorded their best  start in history against conference oppositions with consecutive wins at home against Houston Baptist University and Northwestern State University.

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, senior forward Jordan Capps and senior guard Joshua Filmore led the Lions to a 85-69 victory against Houston Baptist.

“I thought offensively, we were in a pretty good rhythm in the first half,” said Head Coach Jay Ladner. “Josh really struggled in the last game. That wasn’t typical of him, but good players bounce back after those type of performances. We really needed it, and I thought, especially in the second half, it really blew the game open. Obviously, Jordan had 31, and when he is locked in and being active, he has a chance to do that every night. The ball is in his court. I want him to continue to improve his effort and his defense.”

Ladner credited Houston Baptist as a difficult team to beat but commended his team’s effort in the game.

“Anytime you come off a loss and you’re playing a team like Houston Baptist, who’s a very dangerous team, the game is close,” said Ladner. “It was good they led us back. In the second half, our defensive effort was good. We pressed more tonight than we’ve probably pressed all year. I thought we gave some problems with the press. Really proud of the team tonight. I was proud of the way they prepared the last couple of days. I was proud of their effort tonight, their mental focus. I knew that they were ready to play. They were locked in.”

Capps, who had a career-high of 31 points in the game, pointed out the importance of the home crowd who came in despite the inclement weather. 

“We got a good crowd today,” said Capps. “They always get the team energized. The crowd gives us energy, and we feed off that specially in defense.”

Ladner was appreciative of the supporters that came in as well.

“It’s incredible to me and how grateful we are for the people that did come today,” said Ladner. “If you came to the basketball game, you’re a Lion supporter tonight. We’re really fired up and thankful that those folks braved the elements to get over to our game tonight, and it made a huge difference.”  

Filmore tied his career-high seven three-pointers in the game against Houston Baptist. He explained the difference between his shooting in this game compared to his previous game.

“The last game we played, I had an off night,” said Filmore. “I was just shooting ’cause I was open. Tonight, I made an emphasis on locking in when I got open looks, making shots and knocking it down. I’m happy to help the team out.” 

The team registered their second victory of the week with an 85-58 win against Northwestern. Junior guard Marlain Veal credited team effort as the key to their win.

“We all rely on each other,” said Veal. “So, it’s never just a one-man show on this team, and everybody has done that.” 

Ladner gave his assessment on the second game.

“I thought our preparation was really good the last couple of days,” said Ladner. “I knew we were ready to play. So, I was really pleased when I saw we held them to 25 percent in the second half, and I thought that was the difference in the game. The stat I really want to acknowledge and compliment our team and players is the fact that we had 21 assists and 10 turnovers, and what that led to offensively as compared to two assists and 21 turnovers for Northwestern, I think that had a lot to do with the game.”

The team will travel to Sam Houston State University on Wednesday, Jan. 24 in search of improving their 6-1 record in the conference to build on their historic run.