The FTCC Trojans pulled out a tough win in overtime, 99-93, over the Lenoir Lancers. The Trojans had beaten Lenoir in Kinston, 103-90, in December. Although the Lenoir bench had only 7 players, they came to play. The Trojans may have been overlooking this team that was ready to play hard. The win pulls the Trojans in to 5th in the conference at 8-5, 12-7, overall.
The Lancers opened the game with a pressure zone defense that held the Trojans to just 9 pts. in the first eleven minutes. 5 of those points were from the line. The Trojans were settling for 3 pt shots and just not hitting. Tristen Rodriguez hit the first 3 pt shot for the Trojans at the 5:41 minute mark and ended the half with the only two for the team. He led all scorers with 13 pts.
Lenoir was lead by Kalek Rhem, who was relentless on the boards and grabbed offensive rebounds over the taller Trojans. That type of play is what kept the Lancers in the lead for much of the half. They were up by 9 pts. at the midpoint of the half, only to trail 32-35 at the half. Rhem lead the Lancers with 10 pts.
Free throw shooting has been a weak point for the Trojans, who average only 64% of the season. Two recent games were lost, in part, due to poor FT shooting. The Torjans made their shots at Patrick Henry late in the game over the weekend, to seal that win, and kept the trend going with Lenoir. Austin Edwards whose 10 pts. were all at the line, led the team with 10-10 shooting, Jabari Bowman was 9-9, and Nick Kuhns was 7-8. Overall, the team was 34-39, 87% on the night.
The Trojans started to attack the zone defense and returned to their aggressive man-to-man to force the Lancers to commit fouls and take poor shots. This was not a display of great shooting by either team, with total shot percentages just about 30% on each side. The Trojans were able to get to the line with Johnny Hughes able to get shots off in the paint. Bowman led the team with 12 pts., many on cuts into the soft part of the zone. With the ball and 27 seconds on the clock to end regulation, the Trojans shot too soon and allowed the Lancers a chance. With a good look, Phebion Joyner missed a shot at the buzzer for the Lancers.
In overtime, Bowman and Kuhns took over for the Trojans, with 6 and 5 pts., respectively. They were able to cut to the basket and get short shots to fall. Combined, they were 5-6 from the line. Hughes and CJ Miller were able to get 3 pts each with tough shots in the paint. The Trojans were able to open a 7 pt. lead, and then work at the line as the Lancers had to foul to stop the clock. The improved FT shooting helped the Trojans to close out the win and survive a much tougher battled than they anticipated. In this tough conference, no game is an easy win for the rest of the season.
FTCC 35 47 17 99
LCC 32 50 11 93
FTCC Adams, 10, Chavis, 6, Kuhns, 11, Bowman, 22, Guthrie, 3, Mateen, 2, Rodriguez, 13, Miller, 9, Hughes, 11, Edwards, 10
3 Pt. Bowman, 1, Rodriguez, 2
Fouls 24, Adams, 2, Chavis, 2, Kuhns, 1, Bowman, 3, Guthrie, 1, Mateen 2, Rodriguez, 3, Stover, 2, Miller, 4, Hughes, 4
LCC Kelson, 13, White, 12, Rhem, 18, Satterfield, 9, Brannock, 10, Moore, 25, Joyner, 4
3 Pt. 11, Kelson, 2, White, 1, Satterfield, 2, Brannock, 1, Moore, 5
Fouls 26, Kelson, 4, White, 5, Rhem, 5, Satterfiled, 3, Brannock, 4, Moore, 2, Joyner, 3