Defense propels Saints to season-opening win over Red Lions
A year ago the Saints hung their hat as a fast-paced team that scored quick and often. On Tuesday in the season opener, it was all about defense.
Central Christian College of the Bible picked up their first win of the season on the road in a 75-69 victory over Lincoln Christian University. The win was the first for the Saints over the Red Lions since 2017 and the first in the Laughlin Center since 2008, several years before LCU joined the NAIA.
The Saints (1-0) faced a 22-21 deficit with 7:03 remaining in the first half, but used a 15-4 run over the next six minutes and led for the rest of the night. After holding a 39-31 advantage at halftime, Central Christian went on to lead by as many as 14 with 7:55 left in the game.
A couple of made 3-pointers by the Red Lions (1-3) sandwiched around a Saints turnover narrowed the gap to two, making things interesting with less than a minute to play. Central Christian responded by going 4-for-4 at the free line and forcing stops on the last two Lincoln Christian possessions.
Clifford Detiege scored 17 points and matched Trey Black for the team high in rebounds with six. Gabriel Martinez scored 12 points and Andre Johnson had 11.
Cornelius Lawhorn was the only Red Lion to reach double figures as he scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Central Christian held the hosts to 30 percent shooting in the first half and 37 percent for the game. The Saints shot 52 percent in the first half and 60 percent after the break for a combined 55 percent on the night.
The Saints return to action at home on Thursday when they host Union College (Neb.) in a doubleheader with the women's basketball team at 5 and 7 p.m.