Lions start off with back-to-back victories

ATLANTA – Normally, playing the second match of back-to-back games, and on the road, is a recipe for disaster. However, if the opening pair of games is any indication of things to come, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff men’s basketball team is going to cook up a buffet of tasty dishes for the 2013-14 season.

The Golden Lions (2-0) capped off a successful road trip at the HBCU Tip-Off Challenge after knocking off host school Morehouse College (1-2), 67-54, Monday night. It’s the first time on record UAPB has started a season 2-0 as a Division I program.

“We came out with a different approach. We played with a lot of intensity, they met the challenge and played very well,” UAPB coach George Ivory said. “We have great leadership. We have a deep bench and that’s going to help us this year.”

With the exception of a few brief instances, UAPB dominated the hometown Maroon Tigers. In contrast to Sunday’s match with Tuskegee, the Golden Lions’ offense moved with fluid motion from the top of the key to the low post. On the opposite end of the floor, UAPB’s man-to-man defensive was an impenetrable wall, forcing Morehouse to shoot a woeful 38.9 percent from the field with 22 turnovers.

UAPB came out strong from the opening tip, but Morehouse would make a run and eventually tied the game at 16 apiece with 6:30 remaining in the first half. The Golden Lions regrouped and closed the half in style to lead 30-25 at the break.

Morehouse would start the second half on fire, posting a 13-6 run in the first three minutes. However, following a quick timeout, the Golden Lions resumed their tenacious man defense, which nullified the Tigers’ energetic pace and ultimately led to celebrations on the Golden Lions’ bench.

“When we go to full-court pressure, we bring a lot of heat with our guards and forced a lot of turnovers. We’re mixing a lot of different lineups, but we’re going to get better,” Ivory said.

Four Golden Lions scored in double figures led by guard Tevin Hammond, who dropped a game-high 16 points.

“We played well tonight (Monday), but we’re still progressing,” said Hammond. “We played with more heart in this game. We didn’t play well versus Tuskegee (Ala.), but we made a commitment to play better and we all contributed to this win.”

Joining Hammond with standout scoring performances were Davon Haynes, who contributed with 12 points and 13 rebounds, Marcel Mosley with 11 and Trent Whiting with 10.