After losing their first game of the season to South Dakota St. on Nov. 14, the Lumberjack basketball team bounced back Friday night with a 87-74 win over Middle Tennessee State University.
The Lumberjacks got off to a slow start early as turnovers led to a quick 5-0 run for the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee; their largest and only lead of the game. Team-wide swarming defense and a quick start from center Gavin Kensmil, shooting a near-perfect 6-7 and scoring 12 points, helped the Lumberjacks settle down and open a lead midway through the first half. The Bule Raiders kept within striking distance with scoring from sophomore Eli Lawrence and senior Josh Jefferson, but the Lumberjacks were able to keep a ten-point lead going into halftime up 44-34.
Coming out of halftime, the Lumberjacks once again started slowly as Middle Tennessee cut the lead to seven due to missed shots and turnovers. Starting forward Calvin Solomon was forced to the bench with 3 fouls, allowing the Blue Raiders back within just one point.
The Lumberjacks responded with big a three-pointer from Kansas transfer Latrell Jossell and timely, and-1 layup from senior guard Roti Ware. But the star of the second half was senior point guard David Kachelries, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half and knocking down a pair of three-pointers to blow open a 17-point Lumberjack lead.
Things got chippy between the two teams late in the second half as Blue Raiders guard Teafale Lenard picked up a technical foul, and a few plays later double technical fouls were called on SFA’s Calvin Solomon and MTSU’s Isaiah Turner.
The Lumberjacks kept their lead, concluding the night with a 13-point victory.
As we’ve come to expect with the Lumberjack basketball team, turnovers played a big part in their game play as they forced 21 total Middle Tennessee turnovers. The Lumberjacks also enjoyed a good shooting night finishing the game 50.9% from the field and 55.6% from three-point range. Four Lumberjacks finished the game in double figures with impressive outings from Kachelries (6-13 FG, 19 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST), Kensmil (7-10 FG, 16 PTS, 7 REB), Solomon (6-7 FG, 13 PTS, 7 REB), and Ware (13 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST).
This win capped off a four-game homestand at William R. Johnson Coliseum, with the Lumberjacks holding a record of 3-1 to start the season. The Lumberjacks will be back in action at William R. Johnson Coliseum on Dec. 1 as they face Lincoln University (CA) at 6:30 p.m.