NATCHITOCHES -- Northwestern State’s Ishmael Lane has elevated his play among the nation’s elite college basketball players over the past month, and after his last two outings made him the only NCAA Division I player with an active streak of seven straight double-doubles, the 6-8 senior netted Southland Conference honors Monday.
Lane, a senior forward/center from Port Allen-Port Allen High School, was voted Southland Player of the Week in a poll of the league’s 13 men’s basketball sports information contacts.
Starting with a Jan. 19 contest at second-place Abilene Christian, Lane has posted double-figure scoring and rebounding totals in the Demons’ last seven contests. He is averaging 16.7 points and 14 rebounds in that streak while sinking 64 percent (46-72) of his shots from the floor in 33 minutes per game.
“In our system, for a guy who is playing primarily inside to log those minutes and be productive at such a high level is as impressive as I’ve seen in my 20 years as coach,” said veteran Demons’ coach Mike McConathy. “Ish has taken very few plays off and his relentless effort is being rewarded with great results, and our team is better because of it.”
In two games last week, he averaged 18 points and 13.5 rebounds while shooting 73 percent (16-22) from the field, including a 3-pointer. Lane also collected 10 blocked shots combined against New Orleans and McNeese. The career-best eight against UNO were the fourth most in a game this year in major college basketball.
His 17 points and 12 rebounds at McNeese on Saturday were instrumental in the Demons’ dramatic 74-72 victory. His plays in two more phases helped make the difference in the game’s closing moments.
His pass to fellow senior Malik Metoyer in the final 20 seconds led to the decisive layup with 16.8 seconds remaining. Then Lane blocked a potential game-tying shot in the closing seconds, and rebounded a second miss that he defended.
Against UNO last Wednesday, he had 19 points, 15 rebounds and narrowly missed a triple-double with the eight blocked shots.
Lane drained a twisting, 27-foot 3-pointer with 2:57 left in regulation, then hit a 16-footer at the buzzer to force overtime in an eventual 81-73 triumph by the third-place Privateers.
With his production last week, Lane took over the overall Southland Conference rebounding lead (9.5 per game) while expanding his first-place margin (12.5 average, 2.3 more than the second best rebounder) in conference play only. He’s also now the top shot blocker overall (2.2 average) and in league play (3.0).
His 14.9 conference scoring average is ninth in the Southland. His overall 13.5 points per game is 13th.
Lane has climbed into the Demons’ career top 10s in two categories: blocked shots (fifth with 151) and rebounding (eighth at 777). His 1,361 career points ranks 15th in school history.
The Demons (9-15 overall, 4-7 in the conference) have won two of their last three heading into a Wednesday night visit to Lamar. NSU plays host to Stephen F. Austin Saturday afternoon at 3:30 in Prather Coliseum. Lane had a game-winning tip-in at the buzzer to beat SFA 61-59 on Jan. 12.