A barrage of points in the first half set the tone for Paine and led to an 86-71 win over LeMoyne-Owen on Monday night.
The Lions (13-12, 12-11 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) jumped out with an early 11-2 run and led by double digits through most of the first half. Five 3-pointers in the half helped give the Lions the early advantage. They finished with 11 3-pointers in the game.
“We talked about coming out with energy,” Paine coach Jimmy Link said. “We came out so fired and amped up. We had all pistons firing.”
Mario Jordan and James Devlin had two 3-pointers each in the first half, helping lead the Lions to a 12-point advantage at halftime.
Paine held LeMoyne-Owen (14-10, 14-8 SIAC) to just 30 points in the first half. The Lions’ defense slowed down the Magicians, who put up 76 points on the Lions in their first matchup this season.
Jordan said the first five minutes of the second half were crucial for the Lions, as they tried to maintain a strong lead and not allow the Magicians back in the game. Paine did so, holding the same 12-point lead 10 minutes into the second half.
“We felt good coming in, but we knew we had to put them away in the second half,” Jordan said. “After stopping them in the first five minutes (of the second half), we felt good.”
LeMoyne-Owen was never able to threaten after that, only inching within eight points with seven minutes left.
While Paine provided sound defense for much of the second half, the offense continued to hold the lead, adding 44 points after the break. The Magicians were put away with late foul shots as the Lions cruised to the win.
Jordan led Paine with 19 points on 4-for-9 shooting, but all four shots were behind the 3-point line in six attempts. He also went
7 for 8 at the free-throw line and brought in five rebounds.
Devlin finished with 16 points. Tony Baker and Geno Green combined for 21 points and six rebounds, as Paine totaled four double-digit scorers. Allen Young led the Lions with eight rebounds, while Kedric Taylor had seven rebounds and eight assists.
Teshawn Byron led LeMoyne-Owen with 18 points and added five rebounds.