Mavericks fight off Lake Michigan Admirals 95-89

Mavericks fight off Lake Michigan Admirals 95-89

By: D. Harris

(Owensboro, KY)- Thursday evening at the Owensboro Sportscenter was the third meeting between the Mavericks and Lake Michigan this season. The Mavs won the first two games easily, but this time it was a much different game. Lake Michigan played very physical and stayed right with the Mavericks the entire way, along with putting some serious pressure on Kentucky’s home game winning streak of 100-plus games.  

The Admirals led 82-81 with eight minutes to play. Kentucky finally seemed to gain their composure at that point, and stepped up their defensive intensity. PJ Couisnard knocked down a huge mid-range jumper to put Kentucky ahead 90-89, and Anthony Jackson scored off of a nifty floater move with 14 seconds left to lead 92-89. The Mavericks held Lake Michigan scoreless in the final two minutes of play, and out-scored Lake Michigan 21-14 in the fourth quarter.

PJ Couisnard finished with 28 points on 10-23 shooting from the field. Anthony Jackson scored 19 points, while Jon Rogers and Brandon Davis each produced 11 points apiece. Gerrard DeVaughn collected a team-high nine rebounds in the contest.

How it happened  

After a strong 9-4 start which led to an early Mavs lead, Lake Michigan went on a 13-5 run to lead 17-14. The Admirals were knocking down open looks from everywhere inside the paint. The Mavs quickly re-took lead thanks to eight straight points from Brandon Davis off the bench. Still, Lake Michigan kept pace with the Mavs and were tied at 24 after the first.

PJ Couisnard and Brandon Davis fueled the Mavericks offense with eight quick points to begin the second quarter. Once again, Lake Michigan found themselves right in the thick of things with their inside scoring. Kentucky led 37-32 with five minutes left in the quarter, but the Admirals went on a 11-3 run to take the lead at 43-40. A strong finish to the quarter from Kentucky gave them a 46-44 halftime advantage. It was a huge second quarter from Couisnard, who led all scorers at the break with 16 points. Overall, it was a sloppy first half from the Mavs with seemingly had uncharacteristic turnovers and fouls. Kentucky committed 13 turnovers in the half, while Lake Michigan had 15.

Brandon Davis picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, and was sent to the bench. Lake Michigan also refused to go away, as the Mavericks’ poor play carried into the second half. It was all tied up at 56-56 apiece, and then Jon Rogers converted on a three point play to put Kentucky ahead 59-56. The Admirals kept it close at 67-66 late inside the third. Lake Michigan’s Nicholas Waddell drew several fouls from the Mavericks down low in the paint area. Both teams traded baskets in the final two minutes of the quarter, with the Admirals ahead 75-74 heading into the fourth.

Lake Michigan started the fourth with a three point play to extend their lead out to four. After trailing 82-81 with eight minutes to go, Kentucky didn’t allow Lake Michigan to score for the next three minutes. The Mavs 7-0 run put them ahead 88-82. With two minutes left, Kentucky only led 88-87. Couisnard’s huge jumper from the elbow put the Mavs ahead by one with 90 seconds to play. The Mavericks’ defense shut down the Admirals, and Anthony Jackson scored the final four points of the game as the Mavs held on for the victory.

What’s next?

The Mavericks will travel to St. Joseph, Michigan for a re-match with the Admirals on Saturday evening. The Mavs next home game at the Sportscenter will be on April 3rd against Indianapolis.

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