February 20, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CENTRALIA - The John A. Logan College men's basketball team simply dug too deep a first-half hole to escape, losing at Kaskaskia College Saturday, 90-73. The loss is the Vols' third in the last four games as they fall to 12-4 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and to 22-6 overall.

Logan could do little right over the first 20 minutes, knocking down only six field goals, a season low for one half, and trailed by a stunning 25 points at the break, 53-28. 

The Vols chipped away at the deficit and eventually pulled to within six points at 71-65 on a basket by Devontavius Payne with about eight minutes to play.

That would be as close as the Vols would get, however, as the Blue Devils regained their focus and went on a 19-8 run to close out the game. The guard play of Joffery Brown (28 points) and Elijah Watson (11-all in the second half) proved to be too much for Logan to handle.

"It's so difficult to win when you put yourself in that situation," said Vols head coach Kyle Smithpeters refereincing the team's first-half shortcomings. "They (Blue Devils) played really well, but I believe we allowed them to play really well. We came out in the second half and held them to 11 points over the first 13 minutes. That's the kind of intensity we should have been playing with defensively all along. If we had done that, there is no doubt in my mind that we would have walked away with a victory."

Smithpeters said Logan has to quit playing well in spurts only and become more consistent half to half.

"We've got some growing up to do," he said. "We can't expect people to lay down for us. It's that time of the season where teams have gotten better and they're going to give us their best punch. We have to be ready to play from the start of the game and go hard for 40 minutes."

Payne led the Vols in scoring with 18 points. Michael Tucker followed with 14. Tamas Bruce added 11. Jalen Perry contributed eight. Armon Benford and Ranell Crossland tallied seven each and Jarvis Calhoun had six. Justin Lukens netted two.

Logan travels to Rend Lake Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. game.