The New Year brought a clash of HBCU hoops in Memphis on Monday evening, with LeMoyne-Owen College hosting Morehouse and pulling out a close 74-69 win over the visiting Maroon Tigers.
LeMoyne Owen was coming off a thrilling 80-64 win last weekend over Albany State University. Meanwhile, Morehouse was recovering from a 49-70 blowout loss to Miles College.
Classes haven’t resumed yet, but that didn’t stop more than 250 basketball fans from checking out the game at Bruce Johnson Hall. LOC got off to a fast start, with Tyrone Banks scoring LOC’s first bucket just 15 seconds into the game.
“I thought we started the game with a lot of good energy,” said LOC head coach William Anderson. “We seem to be playing in the system that seems to be working for us.”
But the game slowed down when LeMoyne-Owen’s Tory Mason landed awkwardly landed on the court, dislocating his shoulder. The entire game changed, as the fast pace that the Magicians like to play vanished and Morehouse was able to close the gap.
“When we lost him, it took us a while to overcome not having his hustle on the floor,” Anderson said.
Fortunately, Anderson had “The Booker Brothers” to help speed up the game again. Jordan Booker scored nine first half points while his brother Devin crashed the boards, reeling in four defensive rebounds.
“They have heart,” he said. “They just play so hard and don’t give up. They have the desire to do the little things, whatever it takes to win. We always want guys like that on the floor.”
Morehouse’s Robert Andrews scored 13 first-half points to keep the game close at halftime, 37-35. Andrews, who finished with 21 points for Morehouse, scored a basket that gave Morehouse a brief lead. But Banks answered with back-to-back three. He finished with 21 points.
With just 1:23 remaining, the game was tied at 69, but LeMoyne-Owen’s Jaquan Lawrence scored on a fast-break opportunity that gave the Magicians the lead and the win. Lawrence led all scorers with 23 points.
Next for LeMoyne-Owen: The Magicians travel to Miles College on Sat. Jan. 11 at 3 p.m., the first of four consecutive road games.
“We are taking it one step at a time and will just focus on Miles College,” Anderson said. “Playing Miles at Miles will always be a tough game. But there’s a lot at stake.”