Paine men knock off Miles

Paine 74, Miles 53

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Kenny Fluellen laughed it off after bricking a dunk in the final minute.

The Paine guard and his teammates had plenty to chuckle about Monday night.

Mario Jordan scored 17 points as the Lions jumped on Miles early, breaking free for a 74-53 win.

“Kenny wanted that the whole game,” Jordan said. “We all wanted that dunk to give our crowd something to be excited about.”

Lions fans had to plenty to be delighted about.

Paine shot 54 percent from the field in the first half to establish a 43-27 halftime lead. Sean Morgan and Darius Smith each scored 14 for Paine, while Fluellen had 12 on four 3-pointers. The Lions finished the game with 18 assists and 10 3-pointers.

With the effort Paine (4-6, 2-1) improved to 2-0 in the newly-opened HEAL Complex. Two days earlier, the Lions defeated Stillman at home.

“We were excited to get in this gym for a second time,” Jordan said. “Really, we’re just excited to protect this place.”

Paine got off to a fast start, with Fluellen draining a 3-pointer from the right wing in the opening minute. Later, Smith canned a three from the right corner. Then, Jerel Stephenson cleaned up an offensive board, sticking it back in to stake Paine to an 8-2 advantage.

The Lions remained up tempo and cruised into intermission up 16. Miles (3-8, 0-3) shot just 33 percent from the field and never challenged Paine in the second half.

After dropping their conference opener to Tuskegee last week, the Lions now are just a half-game out of first place in the Southern Intercollegiate East Division.

“I always felt good about them,” Paine coach Jimmy Link said. “They’re starting to jell and play together, reverse the ball and do some good things. It’s really fun to watch.”

The Lions now embark upon a three-game road trip in five days, starting Thursday. It’s a key stretch for Paine, but one Link said he’s not overly concerned with.

“We’ve got a lot of mature guys,” he said. “I think they know it’s time to go on the road and win some games.”


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