LINCOLN, IL – It was a tale of two halves for the Lincoln Christian University (LCU) men's basketball team Monday night against Central Christian College of the Bible. Despite a hot 13-2 start, the Red Lions found themselves down by eight at half and shooting 46 percent from the floor.
By the time the final buzzer sounded after 40 minutes, Lincoln Christian was up 12 and improved that percentage to a season high 55, including nine for 24 from three for a healthy 37 percent as a team from deep.
"We were as good the second half as we have been all year," LCU Associate Head Coach Brady Cremeens said. "It was fun to see our guys turn it up and really play well for such a long stretch. The next step is doing that for forty minutes."
Zach Thompson (SO/Normal, IL) powered the Red Lions offense with 30 points, followed closely by Garrett Aeilts (FR/Lincoln, IL)' 26 – including 6 of 13 from three. Brode Hopkins (SO/Hartsburg, IL) had his best game of the season, compiling 11 points on four of five shooting, nine assists, and six boards. Kamrein Street (JR/Francesville, IN) had a season high seven assists, grabbed six rebounds, and played a stellar defensive game.
"The second half is what we have been working hard for this whole season," Hopkins said. "The chemistry was there both on the defensive and offensive ends of the floor, and it's something we must build off of."
LCU outrebounded CCCB by eight, 33-25, and had a season high 20 assists while forcing 14 turnovers on defense.
The win is the Red Lions second in three games, and brings their record to 3-8 on the season.
Moments that Mattered
Aeilts started the game on a roll, hitting four out of five three pointers in a five minute stretch early. He scored 12 of the first 17 points for the home team.
When starting wing Zayin Brown, JR took an elbow to the eye early in the second half and had to leave the game, LCU's Coach Donny Aeilts looked to Keaton Doty (FR/Frankfort, IL) from the bench to fill the gap. Doty responded with six points on two of three shooting and recorded three crucial blocks while playing excellent defense for more than 17 straight minutes.
After the eight point halftime deficit, it took LCU just under five minutes to catch the CCCB Saints, which it did with a bucket from Doty to make it a 43-42 game. For the next five minutes, the Red Lions outscored their opponents by 11, and pushed it to an 18 point lead with a score from Thompson with seven minutes remaining.
Player of the Game
Thompson, who earned his 30 points on an impressive 12-18 shooting performance, including two of five from deep and four of five from the charity stripe. He also added 11 rebounds for his second double-double in as may games.
The boys head to 12th ranked Taylor University on Friday night for Taylor's annual "Silent Night" game at 7 p.m. in Indiana.