(leeflames.com) It wasn’t always pretty but in the end the Lee men’s basketball team improved to 14-4 on the year with a 70-64 grind-it-out win over Mississippi College on Thursday evening in Walker Arena.
The Choctaws clawed back into the game and pulled within four at 61-57 with 2:11 left before Quay Kennedy helped ice the game nailing a triple from straightaway with just 1:07 remaining. Kennedy finished with 11 points.
The Flames limited the Choctaws to just six made field goals and 19 percent shooting in the first half holding a 27-14 advantage but turned the ball over 11 times to keep Mississippi College within range.
Lee was guilty of 21 floor mistakes but did force 16 turnovers, 11 coming off steals. “We won’t ever apologize for winning but certainly we didn’t play our best tonight,” said Lee head basketball coach Bubba Smith. “I thought we were way too careless with the basketball and committed to many unforced turnovers against limited pressure.”
Ryan Montgomery led the Flames with 16 points in just 25 minutes of action due to foul trouble. Parker Suedekum stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, seven steals, six assists and five rebounds. Josh Lowe followed with 12 points, nine rebounds and six blocks as the 6-foot-8 New Zealander protected the rim all night long.
Winceton Edwards did the heavy lifting for the Choctaws finishing with 27 points on 10 of 21 shooting from the field. Ken Lewis was the only other player in double-figures for Mississippi College with 14. Winford Ross hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds.
“There are points in the season when you can kind of see this type of game coming. I felt like we fought hard and that showed up defensively and in the final moments when things got close but overall we didn’t execute at the level we know we are capable of and the level we know will be needed moving forward.”
With the win the Flames have now won 12 of 13 and move into sole possession of first place in the GSC at 9-2. Valdosta State is second at 8-2 but were off Thursday night. Mississippi College falls to 7-10 and 3-8 in longtime coach and Athletic Director Don Jones’ return to the bench.
Lee will host Delta State (7-11, 3-7) on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Statesmen are coming off a hard-fought 83-81 loss at Alabama Huntsville on Thursday.