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Basketball, Men

Benedict rallies to down Tigers

By Andrew Carroll Sports Writer
Published: Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12:23 a.m.

TUSCALOOSA | After losing a 14-point lead on Saturday, the Benedict College men's basketball team had one surge left.

Benedict rallied from a six-point deficit and downed Stillman 74-71 in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game.

"That's what it was all about, just keeping our composure," said Benedict coach Fred Watson. "We understand that teams make runs at home. They're a very good team and well-coached. We knew they were going to make a run. They made a good adjustment with their press and kind of sped us up a little bit. We kind of panicked. They got some turnovers and were able to get back into the game."

Xavier Collier made two free throws to give Benedict a 71-69 lead with 35 seconds left. Benedict claimed the rebound off a Stillman miss, and Tydran Beaty got a run-out dunk.

Stillman guard Lee Riley made two foul shots with 7.3 seconds remaining. After Beaty made a foul shot, Riley missed on a 3-point try as time expired.

Watson said his team had "no answer" for Kevin Johnson, Stillman's 6-foot-8 senior center.

"He just dominated us inside," Watson said.

Johnson, who made 11 of 16 shots from the field, led Stillman with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

Riley scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half.

"(Riley) was able to hit some big shots," said Stillman coach Michael Grant. "But I think overall, as a team effort, we didn't come ready to play from the jump. Our intensity and our energy weren't good at the beginning of the game.

"We made a nice run at them the second half, but then we went back to not sharing the basketball. The way that we play, if you share the basketball and do the things we ask you to do you can be successful.

"I think (Johnson) could have played better, too. He missed some opportunities around the basket in the first half. I wasn't pleased, regardless of him having 24 points and 12 rebounds. It just wasn't a good team effort from everybody that we needed to really be successful and win this game."

Senior LaJay Sears had nine points and six rebounds for Stillman (4-3, 3-2). Damian Ford, who made a couple of 3-pointers, and Ladarius Rhone scored eight points each.

Benedict shared the ball enough to have five players scoring in double figures. Collier, who went 9-for-10 from the foul line, scored 19 points and had seven assists and three rebounds. Kennie Eberhart scored 15 points. Beaty had 14 points, and Anton Greer scored 11. Corey Gardhigh scored 10 points and led Benedict with eight rebounds.

"Xavier Collier played well," Watson said. "He stepped to the line and made his free throws. Kennie Eberhart made some crucial jump shots. Tydran Beaty came down with some big-time rebounds when we really needed them. Right there at the last, we forced them into a tough shot. It was just a team effort that enabled us to win on the road."

Benedict (2-3, 2-1) went on a 10-2 run and took a 48-34 lead when Greer made two free throws. Stillman scored the next nine points with Riley getting seven and Sears two.

Stillman tied it at 59 as Sears made a free throw. Benedict regained the lead on a jumper by Eberthart. Stillman scored eight straight points, starting with a 3-pointer from Riley. Sears made a free throw, and Johnson scored with an offensive rebound. Sears converted a steal into a layup for a 67-61 lead.

Eberhart started Benedict's comeback with a baseline jumper. After Johnson made a free throw, Collier sank two foul shots and Greer drove for a layup. Johnson made another free throw for a 69-67 lead, but Collier tied it on two free throws with 1:35.

Stillman committed a turnover on the following possession as Rakee Anderson was called for an offensive foul.

Source: Tuscaloosa News

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