Pilots claim their 7th consecutive title
March 05, 2012
WAXAHACHIE, Tex. - The no. 14 LSU Shreveport Pilots powered their way to their seventh consecutive conference tournament title and their second straight in the Red River Athletic Conference as they scored a season-high 111 points in route to a 111-101 victory over the no. 7 Our Lady of the Lake University Saints in a game that saw 10 different scorers reach double digits.
OLLU (26-7) appeared to be having their way with LSUS (25-7) early on but the Pilots made adjustments and came roaring back making 60% of their shots from the field and was an impressive 43-56 (76%) from the free-throw line. Both teams overcame 15-point deficits in the game as they lead changed 14 times and the score was tied 12 times.
Derrick Parker turned in his usual double-double with the game-highs of 29 points and 10 rebounds as 11 of his points came from the charity stripe after a nine of 15 performance from the field. Greg Shyne, being one of three Pilots with 20+ points, netted 26 with nine field goals and was eight of nine from the line.
Isiah Bazile tossed in 13 of his 21 points from the free-throw line in just 15 attempts despite being under the weather. He also was four of six from the field.
Rydell Harris had another great game for the Pilots helping out with a perfect seven of seven from the field as he finished with 15 points while pulling down eight rebounds while Mark Politte made the only three-pointers for the Pilots with the first coming with 10:26 to play in the second half and the second with 7:24 to play as he finished with 10 points.
The Pilots dissected the full-court press put on by the Saints as they scored 32 fast-break points and an impressive 60 in the paint controlling the inside.
The largest lead of the night for the Pilots came with 4:35 to play in the game as they held a 15-point lead 99-84. They would make their last field goal of the contest with 3:47 to play on a reverse layup by Bazile which lifted the Pilots past the century mark for a 101-87 advantage.
OLLU tried their hardest to close the gap but the Pilots made eight of 10 from the free-throw line in the last minute and a half to keep their distance.
The Saints had doubled the LSUS score total at one point in the first half with a 30-15 lead after posting a 17-2 run. The Pilots clawed their way back into the contest shooting 56% from the field in the first half in route to a 53-51 halftime lead thanks to good defense despite the offense turning the ball over 16 times in the half compared to OLLU's 8 turnovers. Rydell Harris got a rebound and put back at the buzzer to give the Pilots the lead at the break.
LSUS now holds a 4-3 series lead over the OLLU Saints and both will qualify for the Buffalo Funds NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City. This will be the 8th consecutive year that the Pilots have made the trip north for the big dance.
The field of 32 will be announced on Wednesday, March 7. The tournament is a single-elimination format featuring 18 automatic qualifiers from 12 Division I affiliated conferences and independent institutions, one host berth and 13 at-large teams. The tournament will begin on March 14 with the National Championship game on March 20.