LAKELAND, Fla.— In a game that featured two teams on three-game losing skids, Florida Memorial was able to edge Southeastern late in the competition 83-82. After beginning Sun Conference play with a 5-0 record, the men’s basketball team has fallen in four consecutive TSC matchups.
Ryan Atkins gave the Fire the early lead in the first half, scoring the team’s initial three buckets, as SEU held the Lions to just 1-7 shooting from the field. The senior guard scored 12 points in the first half.
As the first twenty minutes progressed, the Fire and the Lions battled back and forth. Behind a team-high five buckets and four free throws from Travis Mitchell, Florida Memorial led the Fire by one heading into the break 38-37.
SEU began the second period on a tear, regaining the lead and immediately stretching the advantage to seven with 13:52 left in the game.
Over the next ten minutes, fundamentally-sound basketball maintained the lead for the Fire. SEU out-rebounded the Lions 40-28, led by ten rebounds by Grant Bryant. Bryant finished with 14 points to cap off his double-double.
During the ten-minute run, Atkins added three baskets from downtown and 15 total points.
Southeastern, fueled by the leading scorer in the Sun Conference in Atkins, jumped out to an 11-point advantage with just 2:39 remaining in the contest. The senior from Miami finished with 31 as he shot 11-18 from the field.
From this point until the final buzzer, FMU controlled the play with aggressive defense. Southeastern turned the ball over three times, resulting directly in seven Lions’ points. On the night Florida Memorial created 18 turnovers and capitalized by scoring 17 points on the ensuing possessions.
The game was iced with a layup by FMU with just seven ticks left on the clock as the Lions grabbed the lead for the first time since the 16:36 mark.
The Fire will look to end their struggles when they take on Warner. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the Furnace on January 18.