SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 11, 2013) -- It was the last home game for seven seniors on the Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) men's basketball team, and they made it a memorable one beating LSU-Shreveport (LSUS) 109-95.
The win moves the Saints to 17-10 overall and 13-6 in the Red River Athletic Conference, while LSUS – the No. 21 team in the NAIA, drops to 18-5 and 13-4 overall. The Saints are four games behind league-leader Southwestern Assemblies of God University (23-3/17-2). LSUS is three games behind, and the University of St. Thomas (19-6/13-5) follows in third place.
Head Coach Russell Vanlandingham said, "It was a hard-fought victory for us, but I am proud of our effort, especially from our seniors. Our seniors have lost only one conference game at home in two years, so they have set the bar high for future Saints."
Virgil Cissoko is pictured with his beautiful girlfriend Jordan Latham.
Mike Brown is pictured with his beautiful girlfriend Krystal Tillotson and best friend Kuda Sengai.
AJ Govan is pictured with his beautiful girlfriend Jasmine Abeyta and parents Stella and Author Govan.
Lo'Ron Smith's family included Sterling V. Collins, Janie Collins, Lorenzo Smith, Paris Collins. Demarco Cunningham and Sierra Collins.
Eddie Ortiz is pictured with his beautiful girlfriend Sarah Lindsay, sisters Claudia Ortiz and Cristina Marroquin, mother Cindy Ortiz and father Juan Ortiz Jr.
Saints senior standout Robert Martinez, the nation's leader in total 3-pointers made and second in 3-point field goal percentage and 3-pointers made per game, changed things around on Monday night as he concentrated his shots to inside the paint. He made 11-of-16 from the field and only four of those were from 3-point range. He also made 6-of-8 free throws to conclude his last home-game with 32 points.
Senior Lo'Ron Smith didn't take as many 3s either as he connected on 7-of-17 from the field, where just two were from 3-point range, to finish with 16 points. Already the Saints all-time leader in rebounds, Smith added six boards. AJ Govan, the team's all-time leader in free throws, made 3-of-6 from the charity stripe, and 4-of-8 from the field to score 14 points. He added four rebounds and three assists. Mike Brown recorded his second double-double of the season, and his third overall, after scoring a season-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. Eddie Ortiz finished with nine points.
The game started with the Saints falling behind trailing by as much as five points. A 3-pointer from Ortiz tied the score at 24-24, and the Saints continued their momentum to take their biggest lead of nine with less than four minutes remaining in the period. The Pilots fought back to regain the lead with one minute left in the half, but a field goal from Brown at the buzzer gave the Saints the 47-46 half-time lead.
The second half was a battle, as the Pilots started out with a 8-2 run to lead 54-49. A steal from Martinez drove him down the lane to find Marcus Thompson open for a field goal that got Saints fans on their feet as the Saints took back the lead at 59-56. OLLU continued to build back their lead, reaching double figures by the 10 minute mark at 72-60. With less than nine minutes remaining in the game, the Saints took their biggest lead of 17 at 79-62.
LSUS's Rodney Milum – one of the nation's top scorers with an average of 24 ppg. – committed his fifth foul and left the game with 15 points.
The Saints maintained their lead throughout the rest of the half. A pass from Thompson to Govan for an alley-oop took the Saints to 96-82. With two minutes left in the game, the Saints reached the century mark for the eighth time this season, and the game ended with the Saints winning 109-95.
The Saints shot 46 percent from the field, 22 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from the free throw line. They forced 21 turnovers on the Pilots, while committing 10.
LSUS shot 44 percent from the field, 27 percent from 3-point range and 65 percent from the free throw line.
The Saints will be on the road for their final three games of the season. On Saturday, they will be in Oklahoma to play Langston University and on Monday to play Bacone. On Feb. 21, the Saints will play Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie. The conference tournament will be hosted by SAGU on March 1, 2 and 4.
The NAIA Champions of Character program aims to instill five core values in NAIA athletes, coaches: respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership, and sportsmanship. Our Lady of the Lake University shares and supports these values and strives to promote the Champions of Character program by working with students, coaches through our Champions of Character educational program. For more information on the Champions of Character program, click here: www.championsofcharacter.org.
Luis A. Lárraga
Sports Information Assistant