No. 2 Generals build late lead, hold on for win over SUNO

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New Orleans, La. – Battling through a tough affair for most of the afternoon, the #2 LSUA men’s basketball team built up a late 13-point lead, and then held on against Southern University New Orleans’ furious, late rally to come away with an 85-83 win over the Knights Saturday afternoon at the Classic at the Oaks at Dillard’s Dent Hall.

LSUA looked like they were going to take the excitement out of the contest early as the Generals opened the game by scoring the first ten points as a Brandon Ellis three-pointer just two minutes into the contest gave LSUA a 10-0 lead.

But SUNO would not go away that easily, going on a 16-2 run to take the lead for the first time as Kevin Dorsey’s two free throws gave the Knights a 16-12 lead with just less than 14:30 left in the first half.

Setting the back-and-forth tone that would be the theme of the game, LSUA responded with 13 of the next 17 points to retake the lead as Brandon Ellis got down the floor and scored to put the Generals up 25-20 with less than nine minutes left in the period.

Holding on to a 32-31 lead with less than five minutes left, LSUA threatened to pull away again as a Devin Jackson three-pointer started a 12-4 Generals run to get the lead back to nine points on a Mikkel Norment three-ball with 2:30 remaining that made the score 44-35 Generals. However, SUNO fought back again, scoring the final nine points of the half as Dimitri Cook scored right before the buzzer to tie the score at 44-44 as the two teams went to the locker room.

The Generals tried to assert dominance down low to start the 2nd half as William Claiborne scored five straight out of the break to put LSUA up 49-44. But, after trading buckets, the Knights had another response as SUNO went on a 7-0 run to retake the lead on Kevin Dorsey’s bucket that made it 53-51 Knights with just more than 15:00 left in the game.

After several ties and lead changes over the next few minutes that led to SUNO holding a 61-58 lead with 11:40 left, the Generals again seemed to get on the run that would give them control of the contest as LSUA went on a 24-9 run over the next nine minutes to take their largest lead of the contest on a JaMichael Brown three-pointer that gave the Generals an 82-69 lead with just 2:35 left.

SUNO would make a contest of it and did not let LSUA get out of the Crescent City without a bit of a scare. After trading buckets to give the Generals a 84-71 lead, the Knights scored 12 of the game’s final 13 points to get it back within two, but Cook’s shot at the buzzer would not be enough to keep the Generals from the victory.

“This was a tough three-game stretch this week in New Orleans, and we’re fortunate to have won all three,” said LSUA head coach Larry Cordaro. “I feel we’ve done a better job this season of closing out games late while also getting a couple of good bounces along the way. Credit SUNO and head coach Brian Gibson for doing a good job of getting that program going in the right direction again. Devin Jackson has been shooting lights out for us these last few games and has turned into a big force for us. We have to keep it going next weekend when the real season begins, conference. We have to be at our best again next weekend for two more tough road tests at Jarvis Christian and Wiley.”

Mikkel Norment led the Generals with 21 points on seven made buckets, three from deep to go along with four made free throws to go with five assists and four rebounds. Devin Jackson couldn’t miss in the game, accumulating 20 points as he made seven of the eight shots he took in the contest and six of seven from above the arc. Phillip Rankin, Jr. ended the night with 12 points, eight rebounds, and four blocked shots. Brandon Ellis was LSUA’s final player in double digits with ten point and four assists.

On an efficient shooting day, LSUA hit 50% overall and a very good 46.2% from above the three-point arc. It’s was LSUA’s prowess from above the arc that helped lead to the victory as the Generals hit 12 deep shots compared to just five by SUNO, but that helped overcome a 13-point advantage for the Knights at the free throw line as SUNO hit 22 shots from the charity stripe compared to just nine for the Generals.

The Generals (8-1) open Red River Athletic Conference play on Friday on the road against Jarvis Christian. Tip-off against the Bulldogs (2-4) is set for 7:30 P.M. at Earl Rand Gymnasium.

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