HAMMOND, La. – The Spring Hill College men's basketball team saw an 11-point lead dissolve over the final six minutes in a 75-65 exhibition loss at NCAA Division 1 member Southeastern Louisiana University on Monday night at the University Center.
Spring Hill grabbed a 5-0 lead right out the gate versus the Lions (5-6) with a 3-point bucket from forward Frederick Gatson at the top of the key and a driving layup from the right side by guard Robert Drummond.
By the time of the first media timeout at the 14:21 mark, SHC had built a 12-6 lead due mainly to controlling the boards with a 9-2 advantage in rebounding. Hot 3-point shooting grew the Badger advantage to 20-11 with 12 minutes to go in the 1st half.
Spring Hill continued to lead 26-22 with 7:25 on the scoreboard as four different Badgers had dropped in five 3-point baskets, but quick-handed defense by the Lions cut the bulge down to 31-30 three minutes later. A sixth Badger 3-pointer by Jackson Fos made it 34-30 until SLU answered just seconds later with a trey on the other end.
Upset-minded Spring Hill took a 40-36 lead into the halftime break and built a 49-41 with 15 minutes to go in the game. An eighth Badger trey by Jarrett Calhoun made it 52-41 and 2-of-3 free throws by Ty McCants maintained an 11-point lead at 54-43 with 13:39 to play.
By the 9:22 mark, SLU cut their deficit down to 58-54 with a combination of tough inside play, an improved free throw percentage and accurate mid-range shooting, but the Badgers held strong to maintain a 61-56 advantage with 7:33 showing.
A slam dunk off a fast break opportunity by the Lions gave SLU its first lead of the 2nd half at 5:12 and a 62-61 score as SLU took advantage as Spring Hill's shots began to miss their mark. The Badgers failed to over a six-minute span late in the game opening the door for the Lion rally.
With 3 minutes left in the game, the Lions led 66-61 and SHC remained within reach at 68-63 with 1 minute left as Drummond converted on 1-of-2 free throws to make it 68-64 and just 54 seconds on the board. Two more Lion free throws made it a 70-64 bulge with 33 seconds to play, but a steal of the in-bounds pass by Robert Gipson did not help the Badgers as Gipson's heel caught the sideline just seconds later. With 18 seconds left, Calhoun made it a 71-65 game with a free throw and then intentionally missed the second attempt. The Badgers successfully tipped the ball out to the perimeter but the open shot rimmed out as SLU closed the game with a 75-65 victory.
Senior Alex Looney paced SHC with 12 points and Calhoun added 11 points as all 10 Badgers to enter the contest scored at least two points and seven different Badgers scored from 3-point land. Overall, SHC shot 40% (22-55) and 47.1% (8-17) in 3-point attempts. The Badgers won the rebounding war 38-29, scoring 10 second chance points and limiting SLU to just six.
Southeastern shot 44.7% (21-47) from the floor and 29.4% (5-17) in 3-pointers. JaMichael Hawkins scored 29 points as four Lions reached double-digit scoring, but 10 steals by SLU resulted in 18 turnovers by Spring Hill as the Badgers managed six steals and benefited from just 10 SLU fumbles. At the free throw line, Southeastern was 28-of-38 for 73.7% and Spring Hill hit just 13-of-22 for 59.1%.
The Badgers (1-10) will next play at the Dalton State College Roadrunners (14-1) in a non-conference game at the Trade Center on Monday night at 5:30 EDT.