LSUS knocks off #5 ranked OBU in season opener
November 06, 2004
If any one thought that the LSUS Pilots men’s basketball team was happy with setting a school record for wins and a fourth place finish in a highly recognized Gulf Coast Athletic Conference in their 2003-2004 campaign, they may be in for a surprise. The Pilots recently received a 35th place ranking in the NAIA Men’s Division I Basketball preseason polls, and opened their season with an impressive 68-58 road victory against the #5 ranked Oklahoma Baptist University Bison.
Chad McDowell and his team which returned their entire ’03-04 starting lineup started their season with a bang knocking off the 5th ranked OBU Bison (0-1) and handing them their first home opening game loss since 1977. The Pilots (1-0)jumped out to a 32-22 lead at the half by holding the Bison to a dismal 7-32 shooting performance from the field. “We came out with a lot of guts and pressured the ball in the first half. We knew they were going to try to get the ball down low to their big men, so we wanted to force them into shooting from the outside, and that is what we did.” said McDowell after his teams first half performance. The Bison shot only 2-12 from beyond the 3-point line, and 6-10 from the free throw line. The Pilots were 12-28 from the field in the first half, capitalizing on 3-9 from the 3-point line, and 5-5 from the free throw line.
The second half was more of the same as the Pilots defense held the Bison to 14-40 from the field. The Pilots managed to capitalize on two timely three pointers to stop any hopes of a Bison comeback from the ’03-04 GCAC leading scorer Frederico Payne. Payne led all scorers with 21 points which included a 5-9 performance from the 3-point line. Derrick Rogers finished with 16 points, followed by Derrick Sowell who had 14 points and 5 rebounds. Pilot point guard Justin Collins picked up 7 assists and a steal while teammate Derrick Hill had a game high 14 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Justin Benson was the leading scorer for the Bison who managed to go 8-15 from the field collecting 20 points, and gathered 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Leonard Mosley finished with 12 points and 3 assists.
“Freddy Hughes stepped up and played great defense for us all night. While he pressured the ball we would double team with Derrick Sowell, then we would fake the double team, and it just kept them on their heels all night.” commented McDowell. “Rico made some big shots in the second half. He is a big time player and made shots when we needed them. But this was an entire team effort tonight. We got some good minutes off our bench, and our guys did what we talked about the entire off-season. We said if we worked hard enough and each guy did his part every night, we will have a chance to win some big ball games. And that is what we did tonight.” concluded the Pilots head coach who now must prepare for tomorrow nights match up versus Rhema College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm.
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