Lions regroup, then rally past Tigers

Losing to conference cellar-dweller Stillman early in the second half, Paine rallied with a balanced approach.


Five Lions scored in double digits as Paine came back from a nine-point deficit to knock off the Tigers, 68-56.

"I knew it'd be tough," Lions coach Ron Spry said. "I think Stillman's one of the better teams in the conference despite their record."

Paine snapped a two-game losing spell to improve to 11-11 overall, 10-7 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. With five games remaining, the Lions are in contention for one of four first-round byes in next month's SIAC Tournament in Birmingham, Ala.

Paine trailed 38-29 early in the second half before Spry called timeout to regroup his players. The Lions responded with a 22-8 run and never looked back.

"We made a few mistakes, a few mental lapses," Lions guard Marcus McDaniel said. "We just had to come together as a team."

McDaniel and Julian English each scored 12 points for Paine, while Jerome Nicholson added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Donald Harris and Joshua Adams each added 10 points.

Guard Najee Tolbert, the team's third-leading scorer who posted 12 points at Benedict on Tuesday, sat out the contest with a sprained ankle.

Stillman lost its ninth in a row to fall to 1-19 overall, 1-15 SIAC. The Tigers knocked down 17 of their first 32 field-goal attempts (53 percent), but they shot 3-for-25 the final 16 minutes.

The Tigers led by 1 at halftime and pushed their lead to nine on Jones' steal and fast-break layup with 16:33 remaining.

"We needed to start playing defense and rebound the ball," Spry said. "They were shooting the ball extremely well."

The Lions soon got on track. Alan Walker came around a screen for a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Harris added a layup. McDaniel drained an open 3-pointer from the right wing. Harris scored on a putback. Paine scored 10 in a row to knot the game at 39-all.

Later, the Lions jumped ahead by two. After Randy Layman-Henry missed a 3-pointer and Harris responded with a layup in transition. Then from the top of the key, Joshua Adams rattled in a 3-pointer off the rim and backboard. Paine led by five with 5:56 remaining.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or