Tigers take thriller overtime against Lee

(Courtesy: Joe Chance)
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LIVINGSTON, Ala. (UWA Athletics) In a matchup with monumental implications for the Gulf South Conference and the University of West Alabama men's basketball team, the Tigers defended home court against the Lee University Flames and earned an 86-84 overtime win Saturday night in Pruitt Hall Gymnasium.

UWA improved to 13-4 overall and 6-3 in the GSC. Lee dropped to 13-4 on the season and 8-2 in league competition.

"We talked about it before the game about how this game is a defining moment for our season," said Sharpe. "All the games are big, but this was important. We've had some where we didn't step up to the plate. We've had three big opponents in here and lost and this was a similar game. We stepped up and did enough to win the ball game."

The Tigers came out roaring in the first half and outscored the Flames 45-29 heading to the halftime locker room.

"Our first half may have been the best half of basketball we've ever had on both ends of the floor. They played really well the first half," said Sharpe.

However, Lee found some answers to the UWA defense in the second half and won the period 44-28 to force overtime. In the extra period, the Tigers outscored the Flames 13-11 to earn the 86-84 victory.

Mike Davis had a breakout performance on the evening with 25 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks while fellow paint post scorer Ricky Dunnaway went for 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

"When you have Mike and Ricky in there together, I would think that was hard to handle for the opponent," said Sharpe. "They're both big, physical and they have skill where they score the basketball. They're not just big and can't play. It's a good one-two punch to have in the post."

Darron Johnson scored 18 points including an important three-pointer to put UWA up by four with just over a minute remaining in the overtime period. LaJuan Hardy scored 16 points and added nine assists and seven rebounds.

As a team, the Tigers shot 48.5 percent (33-of-68) from the floor, 50 percent (9-of-18) from three and 91.7 percent (11-of-12) from the free throw line.

Beyaun Hendricks led five Flames in double figure points with 19 points. Jason Landman posted 14 points while both Ryan Montgomery and Josh Lowe scored 13 points and Parker Suedekum added 10 points.

Lee hit 52.7 percent (29-of-55) of the team's total shots, 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from beyond the arc and 83.3 percent (20-of-24) from the line.

West Alabama will be back on the road next time out on January 23 against the Montevallo Falcons. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPN 104.9.