The Savage Storm are all alone at the top following a 67-61 conference win over University of Arkansas-Monticello at Bloomer Sullivan Arena on Saturday.
Now sporting a 5-1 conference mark and 9-3 for the season, Southeastern is riding a five game win streak.
Senior guard Chris Roussell led the charge with 19 points and eight rebounds. “As a senior, I take pride in telling (teammates) that being on top is fun, but every night you have a target on your back,” Roussell said.
“So we have to come out and battle every game.”
The Savage Storm made good on that advice, chipping away from a nine point second half deficit to take the lead back. Steven Kohli (14 points, 9 boards), Travis Timmons (15 points, seven assists) and Quinton Threadgill (seven points in 11 minutes) were among a cast of characters joining Roussell in second-half heroics after a dismal first half of play.
“I challenged Travis and Steven because they were not making smart plays in the first half,” said Southeastern Coach Kelly Green. “Both those guys battled hard, and Quinton gave us quality minutes. It gives guys confidence when you are winning, knowing they can continue to battle back and still be in the game.”
The game, like many, was characterized by a series of scoring streaks on both sides. Kohli and Roussell hit early threes to cap a 10-0 Storm run after the dug an early hole.
A 22-15 Southeastern lead evaporated when the Boll Weevils (7-5, 2-4 GAC) closed the first half on a 17-2 run. UAM led 32-24 after the Storm shot 37 percent in the first half.
The game flip-flopped statistically, as SOSU shot 17-for-30 (57 percent) in the second half and held UAM to 35.7 percent from the field. Kohli and Roussell completed old-fashioned three-point plays to dig the Storm out of the nine-point hole.
Ahead by one with less than four minutes remaining, Mateus Oliveira made a daring save which ended up in Threadgill’s hands for a streaking layup - even as Oliveira caught up to the play by running behind the scorer’s table. The play sparked a six-point run which gave the Storm a 61-56 lead. The Weevils got within a basket in the final minute, when Roussell took control and drove past two defenders for a win-sealing layup as the shot clock expired.
A bevy of Southeastern luminaries were in attendance on Saturday, including Jerry Shipp and James Spivey whose retired jerseys hang in the BSA. Southeastern’s next game will be Thursday in Weatherford against Southwestern (4-6, 3-1 in GAC).