Pilots defense makes stand to win offensive battle against Blazers
January 18, 2007
Shreveport, LA---On a night when the LSUS Pilots (13-2, 4-1) and the Belhaven College Blazers (9-7, 2-3) combined for 174 points, it was the defense of Pilots guard Travis Cash in the final 30 seconds which preserved an 89-85 victory for the Pilots at The Dock.
The Blazers are one of five teams who have defeated the Pilots at The Dock since 2003, and they had visions of being the only team to have done twice Thursday night.
BC took the Pilots best punch out of the gate as they connected on their first five shot attempts which included back-to-back three pointers by Kyile Byrd which had the Pilots ahead 13-3 just three minutes into the contest.
The offense of the Blazers two leading scorers Bobby Johnson and Dax Miller however powered the Blazers to a 38-33 halftime lead. Johnson led the BC offense with 16 points while Miller added nine.
Jamon Morris led the charge for the Pilots in the first half collecting 17 points and six rebounds. The Pilots finished 14-of-28 from the field but managed to connect on just 1-of-7 free throw attempts which proved to be a sign of things to come in the second half.
The Blazers led by as many as nine points early in the second half, but a 13-3 run by the Pilots which was capped off by a Freddy Hughes steal and lay-up to put the Pilots ahead 50-49 with 14:59 remaining.
The LSUS offense received a spark off the bench in the likes of Carlon “Snoop” Simmons who poured in eight points in a span of two minutes which gave the Pilots their biggest lead of the game, 70-56, with 8:42 remaining.
BC battled their way back to within three points with 1:52 remaining in the half thanks to some sloppy ball protection and the inability to make free throws by the Pilots in the final minutes.
Once again however it was Simmons who connected on a big basket with 1:18 on the clock which stretched the Pilots lead back to 84-79.
Johnson collected his 37th and 38th points with 32 seconds remaining in regulation to pull the Blazers within one point, 86-85. The Blazers promptly fouled Byrd which sent him to the line for two shots. The Pilots made just 3-of-8 free throw attempts in the final minute which included two misses from the NAIA leader Hughes who coming into the contest had an LSUS record consecutive attempts made.
Byrd missed both attempts with the second shot bouncing into the hands of Blazers Larell Bailey who tossed a baseball pass down the floor to a streaking Johnson who looked as if he had an uncontested lay-up to give the Blazers a one point lead.
Cash however sprinted behind Johnson a blocked the attempted lay-up which sent the ball near half court into the hands of Hughes, forcing Miller to foul immediately.
Hughes missed his first attempt and made the second to put the Pilots ahead 87-85 with 21 seconds remaining.
BC got the ball into the hands of Johnson who opted to allow the clock run down to seven seconds before charging the lane for what the Blazers hoped would be the game tying basket. Johnson however had the ball striped away by Cash who made his way down the court and sealed the victory with a two hand slam with one second remaining and the Pilots ahead 89-85.
Johnson led all scorers with 38 points and added nine rebounds for the Blazers. Miller finished with 15 points, while Jeff Sullivan added 13, and Bailey ended with 12. BC finished shooting an impressive 53% from the floor and connected on 17-of-19 attempts from the charity stripe.
Despite shooting just 48% from the free throw line, the Pilots held on for their fourth consecutive GCAC victory to improve to 13-2 overall, and stand alone in first place in the GCAC at 4-1.
Morris collected his third consecutive double-double after finishing with a team high 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Pilots. Hughes finished with 15 points and a game high eight assists, while Whittle and Tyer added 13 points and six rebounds a piece.
The Pilots finished 34-of-60 (57%) from the floor and out rebounded their opponent for the eighth consecutive game by a 34-30 margin.