The #2 LSUA men’s basketball team took advantage of a situation that left #11 Dillard with just five players available and outscored the Bleu Devils 60-40 in the second half en route to a dominant 104-74 win in LSUA’s first game in the Classic on the Oaks Friday night at Dent Hall.
The first half started back and forth with LSUA building up a six-point lead in the early going as JaMichael Brown found William Claiborne underneath for an easy two points and an 11-5 Generals lead just three minutes into the contest. But Dillard fought back with ten of the next 12 points to retake the lead at 15-13 on a Rick Curry bucket with just less than 13 minutes left in the period. The Bleu Devils took its largest lead of the game several possessions later as Jamerson Roberts scored with 9:30 left to put Dillard up 20-17.
As the clock ticked under five minutes left in the first period, the Generals started to take control of the contest. With the game tied at 28-28, a Jordan Adebutu three-pointer started a 10-0 LSUA run to give the Generals their first double-digit lead of the contest as Phillip Rankin, Jr. blocked a Dillard shot, grabbed the rebound and took the ball all the way to the cup himself for a lay-up and a 38-28 LSUA lead with three minutes left. The Generals took a 44-34 lead into the halftime locker room.
When the second half began, the battle of attrition started to work in LSUA’s favor as the Generals immediately jumped on the Bleu Devils to start the final 20 minutes, going on a 28-10 dash in the first eight minutes of the period to balloon the lead to 28 points as Adebutu hit another three-pointer to put LSUA up 72-44 with 12:00 left in the game.
While Dillard was unable to decrease the lead over the next 2:30, LSUA could not build upon it any further. Finally, with just under 9:30 remaining and LSUA leading 78-51, Adebutu found Rickey Brice, Jr. under the basket for an easy two points to kick off a 13-2 Generals run that Rankin ended by getting on the end of a Mikkel Norment pass and finger rolled the ball into the basket for a 91-53 Generals lead with less than seven minutes left, giving the Generals their largest lead of the game. LSUA coasted to the end of the game from there to close out the win.
“It’s always good to win on the road, no matter the situation,” said LSUA head coach Larry Cordaro. “I think we did a real good job attacking and finding the open man, leading to a lot of assists and nice, balanced scoring by all of our players. We came down here with the goal of getting two wins, and we know Dillard wasn’t at their best tonight since they were so shorthanded, but this is just one win out of the two wins we seek. I like that our bench players got a lot of quality minutes against a good opponent, it’s always good to see them get rewarded for their hard work. Now we have a quick turnaround with an early game tomorrow, which we hope will be a good simulation for other goals down the line we hope to attain.”
Of the 12 Generals who saw action in the contest, all 12 scored at least one field goal, meaning each player scored at least two points in the contest. Phillip Rankin, Jr. led the way with his third double-double of the season by scoring 15 points and grabbing ten rebounds. Three Generals finished with 12 points apiece, led by Devin Jackson, who hit four three-pointers to account for his 12. JaMichael Brown was one assists away from his second double-double with 12 points and nine assists. Mikkel Norment finished with 12 points and five assists. Brandon Ellis and Jordan Adebutu each scored 11 points with 3 assists apiece.
LSUA ended the contest shooting 46.5% overall, including 14 made three-pointers as the Generals hit for a 40% clip from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Generals held the Bleu Devils (7-3) to just 34.6%, including just four made three-point shots made all evening by Dillard, a 22.2% clip from deep. One area LSUA shored up from the first meeting against Dillard 12 days ago was at the free throw line. The Generals hit ten of their 12 attempts at the charity stripe for an 83.3% outing, compared to just above 50% in the first game. Dillard handed LSUA its lone loss of the season so far, 88-87 last Monday.
The Generals (7-1) look to conclude the Classic on the Oaks with a 2-0 on Saturday in the rematch against Southern University New Orleans. LSUA opened the season with a 124-96 win over SUNO on October 25th in The Fort. Tip-off against the Knights (6-7) is set for 2:00 P.M. at Dillard’s Dent Hall.