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Lions trying to stay on the ball

By Jonathan Rhodes
On February 5, 2018

Senior guard Joshua Filmore went up for layup scoring two of his 18 points in the 89-84 victory against Central Arkansas. Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar

The Lions basketball team suffered a loss to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi 67-54 in the University Center but bounced back and defended their home against University of Central Arkansas with an 89-84 win.

The Lions are currently tied for third place with Sam Houston State University in the Southland Conference, but Head Coach Jay Ladner believes that the team needs to be more consistent to move up in the conference.

“We have to learn how to handle success better,” said Ladner. “This is what happened last year to us. We address it, but again, it is like when your parent tells you to not put your hand on the stove so you do not get burnt, and you do it anyway. We just seem to keep going back to the stove with it. We are going to work to figure it out. If we are going to be a contender, which is what our intent is, then we are going to have to do better.”

The Lions have not beaten Texas A&M-Corpus Christi since 2013. Senior shooting and point guard Eddy Polanco feels bad that the team was unable to give the 1,023 fans, who showed up to the game on Jan. 31, a victory.

“It was disappointing,” said Polanco. “We had a big win at Nicholls. Not only did we disappoint our teammates and our coaches, but we disappointed a lot of fans that showed up. There was a lot of people that I have never seen before.”

The Lions were determined not to disappoint on Feb. 3 against Central Arkansas. The Lions shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half and came back from being down eight points at halftime.

Redshirt senior forward Jordan Capps scored 26 points, and junior guard Marlain Veal led the Lions with 11 assists and four steals.

“I was proud of the way our team bounced back in that second half,” said Ladner. “This was a huge win for us. It was not the best win, and certainly we got a lot of work to do, but to be able to sweep Central Arkansas for the season might serve us well in the future.”

A recurring theme in both games was how slowly the Lions offense got into a rhythm and started to make the game interesting. Specifically, in the game against the Bears, more free throw attempts were made, and the Lions were gradually more aggressive by scoring in the paint through their post players like Capps and junior forward Moses Greenwood.

Ladner wants to avoid being in these situations where they must come back from behind to win games.

“I am not happy with the way we are starting games,” said Ladner. “We are going to get it straight. I don’t know what it is or if we need to change the lineup. Time after time, we will either get down by nine points to Nicholls or be done by eight like against Central Arkansas. It is just unacceptable, and we know it. But we are going to get it straight whether that is changing the warm up or the lineup.”

The Lions will hit the road tomorrow to compete against the University of the Incarnate Word at 7 p.m.

Ladner wants the team to focus on the upcoming game and not look too far ahead in the schedule.

“I told them to quit talking about where we are in the standing and what we got to do to get higher and let’s play one game at a time,” said Ladner. “If we just take care of our business, then everything else will take care of itself.”

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