February 7, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Perhaps every home game should be “Carbondale Day” when the John A. Logan College men’s basketball team takes the floor.

Playing as though he were inspired by Terriers past, present and future, sophomore guard Devontavius Payne put on a show for the fans Saturday afternoon, tallying 29 points to lead the Volunteers to an impressive 102-93 win over visiting Wabash Valley.

And Payne did it in style, making good on 11-of-15 shots from the field, including 6-of-9 triples, four of which came in the second half to stave off a comeback effort by the Warriors.

If that weren’t enough, the standout from Carbondale doled out eight assists and hauled in five rebounds for one of his better all-around performances as a collegian.

“Carbondale people probably haven’t seen me play in a while, so I wanted to show them what I can do,” Payne said. “It was good to take care of business on the home floor and get the win. Coach (Logan head coach Kyle Smithpeters) wanted us to bring the intensity right out of the gate, and I think we did.”

Payne added that he has put in some extra time after practice in recent weeks to improve his already deadly shot from beyond the arc.

“I want to keep getting better, and I think that’s what all of us want,” he said. “If we come out and play hard like we did today, I don’t see anybody beating us.”

Payne wasn’t a one-man show Saturday. There were five Vols in double figures altogether. Sophomore forward Ranell Crossland out of St. Louis enjoyed his second straight strong outing, collecting 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 treys.

“I’ve been putting in more work after practice and have tried to be more aggressive out on the floor with my game, and I think the strategy is finally paying off,” he said. “I feel like I have my confidence back in my outside shot.”

Freshman Jalen Perry and sophomore Jarvis Calhoun accounted for 13 points apiece. Michael Tucker added 10.

Getting another start was freshman post player, Jerome Davis. He only scored four points, but led the team in rebounds with eight. Sophomore center Tamas Bruce came off the bench to contribute eight points and seven rebounds.

Sophomore point guard Justin Lukens of Herrin notched five points, but more importantly, dished out eight assists to tie for the team high. Lukens also yanked down a surprising six rebounds, again proving that he is one of the better rebounding guards in the region.

“Devon’s a good weapon to have. He bailed us out once again,” said Logan head coach Kyle Smithpeters. “And give credit to the rest of the guys. They got him the ball when need be. I was glad they (Warriors) kept leaving Devon open. And isn’t it great to have Ranell back contributing again? He makes such a difference in our offense. We had five guys reach double figures today. We hit shots and we also had 25 assists. We got the ball to the open guy because our guys played unselfishly.”

As a team, the Vols converted 36-of-68 shots from the field (53 percent) and an even more stunning 16-of-26 from long range (62 percent). They were OK from the free-throw line, too, at 14-of-20 for 70 percent.

Logan outrebounded the Warriors 39-to-19 and only turned the ball over 13 times.

Now 12-2 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and 21-3 overall, the nation’s 12th-ranked Vols play host to Vincennes at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a key match that could determine a top seed in the postseason tournament at Rend Lake in early March.