Lions attempt to climb conference standings

The men’s and women’s basketball teams found success on the road last week as the women split their games and the men sweept their opponents.

The men’s team picked up a big win Jan. 22 at West Florida 79-65 behind the stellar play of its frontcourt.

Senior forward Calvin Dade led all scorers with 23 points and added 10 rebounds, while senior forward Marcus Landry finished with a double-double, chipping in 12 points with 11 boards.

“I think our team will go as far as our seniors will take us,” said head coach Bobby Champagne. “I’ve said that all along and when they play well, we play well.”

The Lions went onto sweep their road trip, clenching a 95-79 victory at Valdosta State to extend their winning streak against the Blazers to 10.

Senior guard Nathan Spehr, who finished the game with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists, led the Lions.

“I would like to officially call this Australia day,” Champagne said. “He’s a senior and we have not lost to Valdosta since he has been on our roster.”

An Australia native, Spehr is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.6 points per game.

“We did exactly what we needed to do to ensure a solid road trip and to get our season turned around,” Spehr said. “We defended. We rebounded. And we got out in transition.”

The women’s team did not have quite as much success as the men’s at West Florida as they fell to the Gulf South Conference-leading Argonauts 71-62.

Junior guard Jennifer Towne led the Lions with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.

“We fought shot for shot with that team to the final minute,” Towne said. “We lost the battle of the boards, and that hurt us the most.”

Head Coach Missy Tiber shared Towne’s sentiments of the West Florida game.

“It was a tough loss against West Florida,” Tiber said. “Our lack of ability to control the defensive boards cost us the game.”

The Lions had to regroup in a hurry traveling to Valdosta, Georgia to take on the Blazers of Valdosta State.

The Lady Lions dominated defensively holding Valdosta State to 36.2 percent shooting from the floor in securing a 63-50 victory.

“We bounced back nicely against Valdosta, Tiber said. “We led tip to finish and it was big road wins for us in the conference.”

Senior point guard Janae Lyde had a bounce back game as she has been injured much of the season with a broken finger.

Lyde finished the game with 10 points, three assists and four steals in 25 minutes of play.

We played a good 32 minutes against West Florida, but that was not enough,” Lyde said. “(In Valdosta) we played hard and together and while it wasn’t a perfect game, we came up big when wee needed to.

The Lions will look to build off their win as they host West Alabama at 6 p.m. Thursday night at Flowers Hall.

“We’ve got to keep that winning feeling inside of us and make sure we play for a full 40 minutes as we strive to become champions.”