A celebration, a struggle

Photo by Matt Griffith/VU

Vincennes University's Cameron Traylor shoots against Lake Land on Wednesday.

No. 9 Blazers rally to upend woeful Lakers

It was a heartwarming halftime ceremony Wednesday, honoring the career of former Vincennes University great Shawn Marion. Marion and many of his teammates from the 1996-1998 teams were in attendance, and his old coach, Dan Sparks, made a rare appearance. The P.E. Complex had its biggest crowd in years.

Lake Land (Ill.) nearly ruined the whole night. Craig Porter drained a key 3-pointer with 30 seconds to go, and the ninth-ranked Trailblazers scored the game's final eight points for a 70-64 Region 24 victory.

Kevin Osawe collected 20 points and 15 rebounds for VU (16-2, 7-1 Region 24), which had a surprisingly tough time against the Lakers (5-12, 1-8). Lake Land is tied for last in the region and the Blazers own a pair of 56-point wins against the Lakers a year ago.

Chinedu Okanu and Porter also reached double figures in points with 16 and 12. But the offense, once again, wasn't VU's calling card.

"When you shoot 7-of-33 (21 percent) from 3-point range, it's not going to be pretty. I have to give Lake Land credit. They were locked in the whole night," Blazers coach Todd Franklin said. "But our guys gutted it up, came back in the second half, made the plays and made the stops. We'll learn from it.

"If we made a few more shots, the game is very different. At some points we have to hit a few shots. We've struggled with that all year."

Lake Land's game-long zone gave VU fits most of the night. The Lakers, down 30-16 in the first half, led 51-44 with just over 10 minutes to go. Adam Price, who paced Lake Land with 15 points, had 11 in a shocking 35-14 stretch that had the nearly-filled complex stunned.

The Blazers got a 58-55 lead with 4:48 to go on Okanu's putback that turned into a three-point play. The Lakers wouldn't give in, grabbing a 64-61 edge on Ty Waller's three-point play with 2:06 to go.

It was 64-62 when Porter raised from nearly 25-feet away to bury a three to give VU the lead for good, 66-64. Randy Tucker and Osawe hit free throws at :14 and :04 for the final count.

Isaiah May scored 13 and Waller 11 for Lake Land, which made one less 3-point shot on 21 less attempts than the Blazers.

"They beat us on the bounce too much. It wasn't like they were blowing by us, but we weren't squared up against them. Then when they did pass out from the lane, nobody scrambled to get to the shooter," Franklin said. "This team needs to get a little harder edge to it. They've had a hard time getting there, and it can't just be me yelling at them all the time."

VU had a 12-point run in the first half, taking a 21-7 lead on Okanu's bucket with 11:20 on the clock.

The lead was at the same margin, 30-16, when Lake Land ended the half on a 14-1 spree. May, who hit all four of his shots, had a pair of 3-pointers in the run and Waller's 15-footer at the buzzer cut the Blazers lead to 31-30 at intermission.

The Blazers play at Region 24 foe Lewis & Clark at 8 p.m. Saturday, a game that originally was scheduled for 4 p.m.

VINCENNES 70, LAKE LAND 64

MEN-WEDNESDAY

LAKE LAND

May (f) 4-4 2-3 13, Cohorst (f) 3-3 0-0 6, Weber (c) 1-3 1-2 3, White (g) 1-9 0-0 2, Price (g) 5-11 2-2 15, Lawson 0-0 0-0 0, Sherrod 1-1 0-0 2, Welfare-Harris 3-6 0-2 6, Burks 2-4 0-0 4, Kapongo 1-5 0-1 2, Waller 5-16 1-2 11. Totals: 26-62 6-12 64.

VINCENNES

Rogers (f) 0-1 0-0 0, Osawe (f) 8-18 3-5 20, Kone (c) 1-1 1-4 3, Tucker (g) 1-6 2-2 5, Mekkam (g) 2-9 0-0 6, Porter 5-7 1-2 12, Sandage 3-11 0-0 8, Traylor 0-1 0-0 0, Okanu 6-9 4-7 16. Totals: 26-63 11-20 70.

SCORE BY HALVES

Lake Land |30-34 — 64

Vincennes |31-39 — 70

3-pointers: Lake Land 6-12 (May 3-3, Price 3-4, White 0-1, Welfare-Harris 0-1, Waller 0-3), VU 7-33 (Sandage 2-10, Mekkam 2-7, Porter 1-3, Osawe 1-5, Tucker 1-6, Rogers 0-1, Traylor 0-1). Rebounds: Lake Land 28 (White 6), VU 47 (Osawe 15). Turnovers: Lake Land 8, VU 13. Fouls: Lake Land 19, VU 15. Fouled out: Okanu.

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