LSUS pulls into first-place GCAC tie
February 19, 2006
February 19, 2006By Pesky Hill
Special to The Times
LSUS, the No. 4-ranked team nationally in the NAIA, made a loud statement for No. 1 Saturday night at The Dock.
The Pilots manhandled Gulf Coast Athletic Conference leader Spring Hill College as LSUS pulled away in the second half for an easy 97-77 victory.
The other three nationally ranked teams above LSUS have all lost in the last three days.
"The national rankings and the national tournament will take care of itself if we just take care of our business," LSUS coach Chad McDowell said. "We contested all their shots and it showed in their shooting percentages."
Spring Hill entered the game as one of the best outside shooting teams in the conference, but the Pilots held them to 40 percent from the field and only 23 percent from the 3-point line.
"We haven't played since last Thursday," Spring Hill coach Robert Thompson complained.
"Maybe that's part of the reason we didn't shoot well, but give LSUS credit. They played hard and deserved to win."
Jeremy Johnston, the 6-foot-9 post player out of Airline , had one of his most productive games for the Pilots with 26 points and 11 rebounds. He was 10 of 14 from the floor and made 6 of 8 from the free throw line.
"They (Spring Hill) were trying to front us in the first half," Johnston said. "But Coach (McDowell) told the guys to get us the ball if we were open at halftime and it worked."
Johnston got plenty of help inside from 6-8 Shadrach Roome, the former Evangel star who hails from the West Indies. Roome contributed 12 tough points and added six rebounds as LSUS whipped the Badgers 46-33 on the glass.
LSUS, which got 12 and 11 points respectively from ex-Southwood stars Freddy Hughes and Josh Porter, won its sixth straight game and improved its overall record to 23-3.
"It would be a nice honor for the program if we get the No. 1 ranking," McDowell admitted. "Especially since we have so many local players."
Spring Hill (18-6) got 22 points from Cash Covington and 20 from Chris Baldwin. Barkley Faulkner added 12 points before fouling out with 11:44 left in the game.
LSUS, which led 37-24 at intermission, opened up a couple of 18 point leads early in the second half on a dunk by Porter and a bank shot by Johnston.
But the Badgers actually closed the gap to 56-50 on a pair of free throws by Covington with just over 10 minutes to play.
From that point Johnston got things going in the paint and the Pilots were able to knock down their free throws at the charity stripe to put the game away.
©The Times February 19, 2006