November 22, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

BELLEVILLE - A strong second half allowed the John A. Logan College men's basketball team to rally from an eight-point deficit to beat Southwestern Illinois Saturday, 87-77.

With the victory, the Volunteers improve to 2-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and in Region 24, while moving to 9-0 overall.

Trailing 43-35, Logan went on an 8-0 run to tie the game and then traded leads with the Blue Storm 14 times before taking command.

Sophomore guard Devontavius Payne paced the offense with 24 points, 19 of which came over the final 20 minutes. Freshman Michael Tucker dropped in 19 and sophomore Jarvis Calhoun added 17.

Sophomore point guard Justin Lukens checked in with nine points, including a key 3-pointer from the corner and two huge offensive rebounds that kept a possession alive and resulted in a basket.

Jerome Davis netted seven. Tamas Bruce and Anthony Campbell tacked on five apiece. Freshman Armon Benford only scored one point, but played perhaps his best defensive game of the season and dished out four assists. 

"We showed so much poise today," said Vols head coach Kyle Smithpeters. "I'm so proud off the kids for bouncing back from that eight-point deficit. And to do it without Ranell Crossland (preseason All-American out with an ankle injury) and Jalen Perry (attending a family funeral) makes it even more special. That's 27 points we didn't have to draw from tonight and we still managed to score 87." 

Smithpeters said he was even more pleased with his team's defense.

"We really shut their water off in the second half," he said. "We made them try to score points in ways other than what they are used to. There's only so much you can do against a 1-3-1 zone when you play it right."

For the game, Logan converted 29-of-60 shots from the field; 7-of-12 from beyond the arc; and 21-of-31 free throws.

The Vols play host to Southeastern Illinois at 3 p.m. Tuesday leading into the Thanksgiving break.