The NJCAA's 20th ranked team traveled to Dayton to take on the Sinclair Community College Tartans on Saturday and came away with a 78-71 victory. With the win, the Lakers improved their record to 11-5 and 3-0 in conference play. This game become a testament to the will of the team as for nearly three quarters of the game, the Tartans outplayed the Lakers. Offensively, the game started well for the Lakers as they scored on their first 4 possessions. Unfortunately, they also allowed Sinclair to score on their first 6 chances. They continued to battle and actually built a 5 point lead at one point in the first half before Sinclair took control and led by 6 at the half 39-33.
The Tartans started the second half scoring the first 4 points to quickly increase their lead to 10 points. Lakeland continued to struggle with their shooting and Sinclair built the lead to 24 points with about 10 minutes remaining. At that point, Sinclair called a timeout, and then the game changed. Julian Jackson came in and sparked the Lakers on an 11-0 run to begin the comeback. His defensive activity led to 3 turnovers which were quickly converted to buckets by the Lakers. After that, the Lakers team defense clamped down as they had 3 stops and 3 more scores. Down the stretch the Lakers used a full court pressure defense which led to more turnovers and Laker baskets. Down the stretch, Lakeland was able to hit their free throws to put the game away. For the game, they were 16-20 from the line. In all, the Lakers defense forced Sinclair to commit 22 turnovers in the game. For the second straight game, Lakeland struggled from the arc shooting just 2-16.
Lakeland had 5 players score in double figures. Tyreke Johnson led Lakeland scorers with 19 points while Chris Richardson had a standout game with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jonny Bowers contributed 12 points and 8 boards while Jordan McMillian scored 11 points, and Allen Sims chipped in 10 points.
This was Head Coach Terry Bowe's 299th career victory.
Bowe Bytes: "This team is built on resilency, but we need to have more consistency. Sinclair is a good team and well-coached; we were fortunate to earn a victory today. We will get back at it on Monday and work to continue to improve."
Next up: On Wednesday, January 15, the Lakers will go for win number 300 in Coach Bowe's career as they play host to Lorain County Community College. After that, they will host Cuyahoga Community College on Wednesday, January 22. Both games are schedule to start at 7:30. Admission is free.