After getting off to a fast start in league play, Paine is trying to stop its recent slide.
The Lions couldn’t handle the ball or Fort Valley State’s interior game and lost in overtime, 78-75, Thursday night at Richmond Academy.
Playing their first home contest in 2012 after enduring a four-game road trip, Paine came (7-4, 6-3) out with a thud. The Lions lost for the third time in five games thanks to 35 turnovers, including four in overtime.
Paine held a long, heated team meeting in its locker room afterward.
Fort Valley State (5-6, 5-4) went on an 11-1 run late in the first half to jump out to a 31-16 lead. The Wildcats went into intermission up 11.
Paine trailed by double digits early in the second when it began tightening up on defense and attacking the basket. James Devlin converted a three-point play to stake Paine to a 44-43 lead. Then, center Allen Young canned a 15-foot jumper to cap a 16-1 run and extend the lead to three.
Paine’s Marshall McFadden made one of two free throw attempts with 13 seconds left to force overtime.
Forward Geno Green, who posted eight points and four boards, fouled out near the end of regulation. Then, Young fouled out 27 seconds into overtime. With those two interior players gone, the Wildcats scored three quick buckets close to the basket and stormed to a big lead.
Paine trailed 75-69 in the final minute of overtime. Then, Tony Baker swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key. After a Brandon Davey free throw, McFadden canned a 3-pointer to pull the Lions within one with 28 seconds to go.
Paine forced a turnover at midcourt and got the ball back with 14.3 seconds remaining. McFadden dribbled through the right side and threw up a running shot from the baseline. The ball bounced off the back rim and went long.
Davey made one free throw for Fort Valley State. Then, McFadden had his desperation shot from midcourt blocked at the buzzer.
Mario Jordan scored 19 points to lead the Lions.