Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
No. 1 Lincoln survives late scare from No. 6 St. Augustine
LINCOLN PARK – Facing No. 6 St. Augustine on Tuesday night, top-ranked Lincoln extended its winning streak against San Diego opponents to 27 games – but it wasn’t easy. In control for most of the game, the Hornets held off a furious Saints rally in the fourth quarter before prevailing 77-65.
“This was a first place game and they want to win first place just like we do,” said Lincoln head coach Jason Bryant. “They competed hard and it was all that I thought it was going to be.”
Lincoln (17-1, 5-0 Western) used its pressure to build a lead early and had a 15-point lead headed into the final quarter. St. Augustine (15-3, 3-1) quickly reduced that lead to six, opening the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run capped by two Matt Ryan free throws with 6:07 left.
“We only have one press that is solid right now and we haven’t really had a chance to delve into our other press defenses,” Bryant said. “They made the adjustments and they started to make shots.”
The Hornets responded to the run and had an eight-point lead with four minutes left when St. Augustine guard Sean Davey hit threes on back-to-back trips to make it a one-possession game. Coming off the bench, Davey scored 10 of his 11 points in the final quarter.
“That was they biggest thing – their shooters started to hit shots,” Bryant said.
Both teams stayed within a possession of each other until Lincoln guard Jerry Cobb hit a three with 55 seconds left to put the Hornets up 71-65. The Hornets punctuated the Western League win with dunks from Norman Powell and Tyree Robinson in the final seconds.
“They hit tough shots and they came to play today. Luckily we gutted it out at the end,” Bryant said.
Powell led Lincoln with 18 points as one of three starters in double figures. Nearly halfway through the league slate, the Hornets sit alone atop the standings with their last league loss coming in 2008-09.
“Hopefully they can wake up now and understand that every game is not going to be easy,” Bryant said.
For St. Augustine, guard Drew Peterson led the way with 14 points. The 77 points the Saints gave up was the most they have surrendered all season.
Lincoln – 77 (16-23-18-20)
Powell 18, Tyree Robinson 16, Simpson 13, Tyrell Robinson 8, Kevin Smith 4 (starters) Cobb 9, Byrd 4, Josh Smith 2 [3 points unaccounted]
St. Augustine – 65 (8-17-17-23)
Peterson 14, Lemar 12, Evan Critchlow 10, Ryan 9, Banaga 2 (starters) Davey 11, Moreno 4, Samaniego 3
Lincoln guard Tyrell Robinson drives past St. Augustine forward Evan Critchlow