The Lakeland men's basketball team, currently ranked 20th in the nation by the NJCAA, struggled to start off the new year and fell to a tenacious Bryant & Stratton Bobcat team by a score 85-73 on Wednesday night. With the loss, the Lakers record falls to 10-5 on the year. The Lakers started the game off sluggish and cold shooting and it never really changed for them the rest of the night. The Bobcats started the game on an 8-2 run as the Lakers failed to make open shots and continuously turned the ball over. Bryant & Stratton led by as many as 18 points in the first half as the Lakers struggled to get into an offensive rhythm. Lakeland went into the half trailing 41-27. The second half played out similarly as every time it looked like Lakeland would start to make a run, the Bobcats answered. The Bobcats led by as many as 21 in the second half. For most of the half, the lead hovered around 13 points. The Lakers were able to trim the deficit to 7 with 3:27 to play, but again the Bobcats answered after Lakeland turnovers and missed shots increasing their lead back to 11 with 2:40 to go. From there, the teams traded baskets the rest of the way.
Jordan McMillian led the way offensively for the Lakers scoring 18 points. Jonny Bowers added 15 points and 6 rebounds while both Tyreke Johnson and Allen Sims added 12 points. The Lakers had 9 different players score at least 2 points in the game.
Julian Jackson – "We should have been able to do a better job defensively. We just did not bring it tonight."
Allen Sims – "It was on us as we came out lethargic. We did not respect our opponent. B&S really came out and played hard and they earned it tonight."
Ke'Saun Key - "Tough loss. Something we'll definitely learn from – we thought we would just come in and win. You can't do that in college basketball. They played hard and earned it. We have to rebound from this – come back and play hard Saturday against Sinclair."
Bowe Bytes: "We are 0-3 the last 3 years coming back from the break. Our timing was off as well as our shooting. We were 1-19 from the arc. Bryant & Stratton played well. They played hard and had energy for 40 minutes. We have to regroup quickly as it's going to be an even tougher test on Saturday at Sinclair."
Next up: On Saturday (1/11), the Lakers travel to Dayton to play the Sinclair Community College Tartans at 3 pm. The next two games will be on consecutive Wednesdays as the Lakers play host to Lorain County CC (1/15) and then Cuyahoga CC (1/22). Tip-off time for both games is at 7:30 pm and admission is free.