PORT ARTHUR – Over the past four games, Lamar State College-Port Arthur has averaged well over 100 points in scoring. Saturday afternoon against Baton Rouge Community College, the Seahawks showed they can play defense too.
The Hawks, tied 31-31 at the half, took the Bears to task on the defensive end of the court to dominate in the second half for a 73-53 non-conference win at the Carl Parker Center.
In a non-typical start for the high-scoring Seahawks, Lamar State-PA shot a dismal 27.8 percent from the field in the first half as they battled to keep pace with the Bears. The Hawks got up by as many as six points when JoJo Mooring knocked down a pair of free throws for a 23-17 LSC-PA lead. Baton Rouge's Denzel Fleming, who led his team with 21, kept the Bears close and BRCC came back to tie the contest at 31-31 at the break.
Over the first 20 minutes, the lead changed five times and was tied six as the two teams went tit-for-tat up and down the court.
The most telling stat for the Seahawks in the first half was a 1-for-16 mark from the 3-point line for a team that was shooting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc coming into Saturday's matchup.
The Hawks came back from the halftime break a different team, going on a 16-2 run to take a 47-33 lead at the 10:23 mark. Key to that turnaround was defense as the Seahawks collected six steals and six blocked shots to put the Bears on their heels. Anthony Allen, who leads the nation with 6.0 blocked shots a game, went way above his average, knocking down nine Bear attempts while scoring nine points with seven rebounds.
And while the Hawks were rejuvenated by their defensive efforts, it was the second-half scoring attack led by D.J. Blanks, Tre Bennett, Mooring and Jamal Shabazz that put the game away.
Shabazz finished the game with a team-high 16 after scoring just six in the first half, while Mooring hit for nine second-half points to finish with 14. Blanks scored 13 with five assists and Bennett, the team's leading scorer this season, added 12 with three assists and three steals.
Lamar State-PA improves to 6-1 for the season with Saturday's win and now the Hawks head into their first NJCAA Region XIV game of the season on Tuesday when they travel to Tyler for a 7 p.m. tipoff. All games this season can be seen by streaming video at Lamar State-PA's athletics website, athletics.lamarpa.edu.
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