Capacity crowd gets first look at 2005-2006 Pilots
November 02, 2005
Shreveport, LA—Louisiana State University in Shreveport finally had the chance to see the highly anticipated arrival of the 2005-2006 version of their men’s basketball team, and the LSUS Pilots did not disappoint. In typical LSUS fashion, the Pilots jumped out to an early 7-0 lead to start the first half and never looked back. Senior guard and 2005 All-American Fredericko Payne led the Pilot offense with yet another All-American performance at the Dock as he poured in a game high 33 points in a 118-89 win over the Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lions.
Pilot point guard Kyle Blankenship drained the first basket of the 2005-2006 season from three feet beyond the three point line which started a 7-0 run to begin the first half which was capped by a Payne steal and breakaway lay-up forcing a SAGU timeout at the 17:46 mark.
SAGU managed a 6-0 run out of their timeout to cut the lead to 7-6, however the Pilots responded with a full court pressure defense that forced 19 turnovers which included four steals by Payne leading to a 49-31 half-time lead.
Stephen F. Austin University transfer and former Southwood High School star Josh Porter entered the Pilots record book with 3:38 remaining in the half after a steal by Payne and a pass to a wide open Porter who delivered a slam-dunk that brought the largest crowd (950) in LSUS history to their feet with excitement.
LSUS had eight players tally the score sheet in the first half with Payne leading the way with 10 points and four steals while Anton Palmer, a junior forward from Chicago, IL pitched in with seven points and seven rebounds. The Pilots shot 42% from the field which included 6-17 from beyond the three point line while committing just five turnovers while forcing 19 by the Lions.
Julio Osorio carried the offensive load for the Lions in the first half pouring in 14 points and collecting 12 rebounds; each halftime highs. The Lions finished shooting 44% from the field and out-rebounded LSUS 24-20.
The LSUS offense hit another gear in the second half as they went on to pour in 69 points, 23 of which came from Payne who was 7-11 from the field which included an amazing 5-8 performance from behind the three point line. “This was a big team win. We wanted to make a statement here tonight and show the best fans in country what we can do,” commented Payne.
“Rico is coming off a great season. Everyone in the NAIA knows who he is and what he can do. I believe that he is starting to understand that he is surrounded by an entire team of athletes who are ready to back each other every night and that he does not have to do it all, which will in the end lead to a lot of great nights for Payne this season,” commented Head Coach Chad McDowell.
All five Pilot starters finished in double-digits which included Payne with 33 points, six steals, and five assists; Porter finished with 19 points on 7-21 shooting and five assists; Palmer collected a double-double in his Pilot debut with 17 points and rebounds; Blankenship added a double-double of his own with 10 points and a game high 12 assists; and Shadrach Roome added 14 points and seven rebounds. Pilot forward Jeremy Johnston, a senior transfer from Louisiana Tech University added 9 points and eight assists while Freddy Hughes pitched in with eight points, five assists, and four rebounds. Derrick Sowell had a rare off night connecting on just 1-9 shooting, but with his physical presence and athleticism he collected a game high five offensive rebounds and collected three steals. Greg Tyer finished 2-2 from the field and finished with five points and Chad Hardy connected on 1-2 free throws in the final minute for his first career point in a Pilot uniform.
“This is the most fun I have had on a basketball court in years,” commented Blankenship after his double-double performance. “It feels great to be part of a winning team and to play in front of such a great crowd.”
Osorio continued to lead the Lion charge in the second half as he torched the Pilot defense for 32 points on 15-24 shooting and a game high 18 rebounds while teammate Jeremy Bowman added 17 points on 7-13 shooting. The Lions connected on 23-38 (68%) attempts from the field which included 6-14 from the three point line and 6-12 from the charity stripe. SAGU committed 32 turnovers while dishing out 27 assists and out rebounded the Pilots by a 46-44 margin.
“This was a great team victory. We played with great intensity for 40 minutes and everyone made the most of their minutes tonight. If everyone continues to do so and we continue to grow and play together, we are going to have a lot success this season,” concluded McDowell.
The Pilots (1-0) will return to action again Saturday night when they will play host to the Paul Quinn College Tigers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30pm.
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