Paine coach Jimmy Link tried to figure out what happened to his players Thursday night after a disappointing start to Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
The Lions played little defense after halftime and fell to Tuskegee, 82-73.
“We came out so flat,” he said. “I don’t know. We just didn’t really come to play.
“I still think we’re a good team. We just came out flat.”
Despite the defeat, the Lions can take solace in the fact their run at Richmond Academy is over. After a season and a half playing its home games in a high school gym, the Lions will play their first true home contest at 3 p.m. Saturday against Stillman at the school’s Health Education Activities Learning (HEAL) Complex.
After defeating West Georgia in mid-December, Paine has lost four in a row. The Lions (2-6, 0-1) shot 43 percent from the field and got out-rebounded, 39-34. Sean Morgan scored 18 points to lead the Lions, while Mario Jordan added 15 and Kenny Fluellen 14.
Shaquille Cook, who helped lead Laney to a state basketball title last season, had a successful homecoming. In 20 minutes off the bench, Cook shot 5 for 6 from the floor for 12 points, with team highs in rebounds (seven) and blocks (three).
Javier McKinney scored 17 points to lead the Tigers, while Calvin Thomas added 13. Richard Dixon chipped in with 12 points.
Tuskegee dominated Paine’s interior defense, scoring easy layups in the second half en route to 72 percent shooting from the field after intermission.
In the final seconds, Cook missed his second free throw but rushed in and grabbed the rebound, allowing the Tigers to score another layup.
“We didn’t get back,” Link said. “We were guessing. We were trying to get steals from the post position and they were scoring.”