New Orleans, LA – No. 2 LSUA made its case to be the new top team in the NAIA when Tuesday’s new poll comes out as the Generals used a late run to open up a double-digit lead and defeat the 16th-ranked Dillard Bleu Devils, 75-65, Friday night at Dent Hall.
Jordin Williams gave the Generals the lead to start the game as he rained in a three-pointer for a 3-0 LSUA lead nearly two minutes into the game. However, the most of the first half was back and forth as the teams would draw level with each other on three separate occasions.
However, the game turned in LSUA’s favor with 6:30 to go in the period as Brian Sylvester put the ball up for Brandon Moss who flushed it down to give LSUA a 23-22 lead, the second, and final, lead change of the game. That dunk started a half-ending 18-5 run that Evan Smith capped with a capped with a lay-in to give LSUA a 39-27 lead as the two teams went back to the locker room.
Dillard answered to start the second half, scoring 11 of the period’s first 15 points to pull to within five points at 43-38 on Jesse Ward’s made three-pointer just 3:30 into the second 20 minutes. The Generals had an answer though, as the Generals pushed the advantage back up to ten points, getting there on a Jordin Williams to Brandon Moss dunk, then a Williams turnaround jumper in the lane after Dillard had answered on the other end for a 51-41 LSUA lead.
The Bleu Devils had one last push in them, going on an 8-0 run that Jesse Ward again finished off with a long ball to make it just a two-point game at 51-49 with ten minutes left in the game. LSUA kept them at bay, scoring the next four to open up some breathing room as Jordin Williams set up Brian Sylvester for an easy bucket. On Dillard’s ensuing possession, Sylvester blocked and rebounded a shot and Gilbert Talbot took advantage of a pair of free throws to make it 55-49 Generals.
Maintaining a four point lead at 57-53, Chris Vickers found himself left open and made the Bleu Devils pay with a three-pointer that kicked off a 9-2 Generals push that Brian Sylvester finished off with a lay-in while being fouled to put the lead back into double-figure territory at 66-55 with 3:30 left to go. Damian Goodwin capped the win by giving LSUA their largest lead of the game on a pair of free throws at 73-59 with less than 20 seconds left in the contest.
“We felt we scheduled tougher than either of our previous two seasons,” said head coach Larry Cordaro, “especially coming out the week after Christmas, on the road, against a tough Dillard team, and the team followed the mantra of compete and complete. We felt we had to win the battle on the boards and we did that, especially Brian, who grabbed almost everything around him. But we celebrate this win for a bit and then get ready for a championship-caliber contest at home next week, one we’re sure The Fort and our great fans will be ready for to start 2017.”
Jordin Williams fought off early stomach issues to lead the team in scoring with 19 points on seven of 16 shooting, including a trio of three-pointers. Brandon Moss came up a rebound shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine boards. Brian Sylvester did notch his fifth double-double of the season, equaling his 15 points with 15 rebounds and slapped away three Bleu Devil shots. Evan Smith rounded out the leading scorers with 11 points. LSUA (13-0) shot 46.7% from the field in the game, including a solid 41.2% from above the arc, hitting seven threes in the contest.
On the road, the Generals defense held Dillard (8-5) to just 30% shooting in the game, including just 29.4% from deep on 34 attempts. The win capped the season sweep of a nationally-ranked Bleu Devil squad. LSUA beat then 12th-ranked Dillard 86-84 earlier this season in The Fort, part of a now-33 straight regular season game win streak for the Generals and continuing the best start to a season in LSUA’s program history.
LSUA, the last undefeated team remaining in the NAIA, goes back into RRAC play next Friday when the Generals host #11 Wiley (13-1) at The Fort. Tip-off is set 7:00 PM.