November 22, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

BELLEVILLE – Four players reached double figures, but it wasn’t enough Saturday as the John A. Logan College men’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought 90-87 decision to Southwestern Illinois in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference opener for both schools.

“We lost this game because we didn’t play very hard in the second half,” said Vols head coach Kyle Smithpeters. “When you give guys lay-ups and open threes, you don’t make it very hard on them. We allowed 14 offensive rebounds. You can’t do that and expect to be successful.”

Smithpeters shouldered much of the blame.

“Maybe, we just weren’t prepared well enough,” he said. “We certainly didn’t play good enough defense. I thought our bigs were getting pushed around at times. Give credit to SWIC. They played hard. They wanted to win. We need to prove that we can win some tough games on the road. We have the talent.”

Sophomore guard Martavian Payne led the Vols in scoring with 21 points, including 15 in the first half. Freshman guard Devontavius Payne followed with 14. Lamont Walker knocked down 13 and sophomore center Russell Woods contributed 11.

Ranell Crossland accounted for eight points. Jordan Martin and Connor Wheeler added five each. Tyler Scott finished with four. A.J. Riley chipped in three. Tamas Bruce netted two and Justin Lukens had one.

The Vols led by as many as eight points in the first half at 26-18. A long 3-pointer by Quan Poindexter at the halftime buzzer pulled the Blue Storm within one at 47-46. It was pretty much all SWIC from that point forward.

De’Antae McMurray was the driving force for the home team, tallying five field goals over the final 20 minutes, all on drives to the basket.

The Blue Storm converted 15-of-22 second-half shots from the field. The Vols were a respectable 11-of-24 in field goal attempts in the second half, but an icy 0-of-6 from long range. Free throws kept Logan in the game. The Vols got to the line 45 times and made good on 31.

Now 6-2 overall and 0-1 in league play, JALC will return to the hardwood for a rare 3 p.m. start on Tuesday as the Vols play host to Southeastern Illinois.