Currington doubles up in Southeastern’s exhibition hoops win over Jackson State

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GULFPORT, Miss. –  Southeastern Louisiana senior forward James Currington had a double-double as the Lions held on for a 57-51 exhibition victory over Jackson State Thursday night at Gulfport High School.

Currington finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Junior forward Moses Greenwood just missed joining him with a double-double with a team-high 14 points and nine boards. Southeastern shot 41.2 percent from the field while holding a 40-37 edge on the boards.

Jeremiah Jefferson had a game-high 15 points for Jackson State. Chace Franklin added 14. Darius Austin led the Tigers, who shot 35.1 percent, with seven rebounds.

“It looked like an exhibition game for both sides,” Southeastern head coach Jay Ladner said. “I thought both teams defensively are further ahead than they are offensively. Both teams had a few key players out and both lost a player during the game. That hurt both team’s executions. It was very ugly, a sloppy game, but a good game to play in particular because we had some time and score situations there at the end where the game got tight and we had to manage the ball and I thought we did a decent job of that considering the lack of work we’ve had.”

The game raised money for the Catholic Charities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for hurricane and flood relief.

Jackson State rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 33 on a Franklin layup at the 17:27 mark. Senior guard Jabbar Singleton put Southeastern ahead to stay with a 3-pointer with 17 minutes left. Redshirt-freshman Brandon Gonzalez nailed a 3 and Greenwood hit a jumper to give the Lions a 50-40 lead with 10:32 remaining.

Franklin trimmed the lead to 54-51 with a 3 with 1:17 left. But junior forward Keith Charleston hit three free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

   Southeastern took a 32-27 lead into the half behind an 11-point, seven-rebound effort by Currington. The Lions hit 48 percent of their shots in the half and out-rebounded the Tigers 19-14.

Southeastern jumped out to a 7-0 lead as Filmore took a steal in at the 18:17 mark. Senior guard Eddy Polanco knocked down a 3 to push the lead to 21-12 with 8:45 remaining in the half. Two free throws by Greenwood made it 24-15 with 6:53 left.

Jackson State then went on a 10-0 run to take a 25-24 lead on a 3 by Julian Daughty with 3:21 remaining. Charleston put the Lions back ahead with two free throws with 3:05 left. Currington added a pair of layups to give Southeastern the five-point halftime advantage.

Ladner said the Lions’ advantage on the boards was the key to the game.

“Jackson State is always known for hitting the offensive glass very aggressively and that was one thing we emphasized in practice,” Ladner said. “I thought our guys did a good job. When playing without your biggest player in there, I thought our other guys did a good job of rebounding the basketball.”

Southeastern will host William Carey in another exhibition Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the University Center. The Lions tip-off the regular season next Friday at home against Centenary at 7:30 p.m.

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