Houston Baptist turns it up
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2002
By Steven Key
HOUSTON (BP)--Houston Baptist University continued to fine tune its offense and turned in a magnificent defensive performance as well, cruising to a 116-62 victory over Southwestern Adventist University on Monday night in Sharp Gym. It was the highest offensive output of the year for the Huskies.
HBU dominated the game from the very start, blitzing the Knights with a 24-3 run in the first seven minutes. Michael LeBlanc led the run with 10 points, capping the burst with a breakaway slam.
The Huskies kept up the pressure on both ends, holding Adventist to just six points in the next five minutes. The lead grew to 40-9 after consecutive jumpers in the lane by Charles Fordjour.
The Huskies pushed the margin out to 37, 58-21, after Jeff Carroll hit five of six technical free throws with 3:01 to go. HBU would take a 67-27 lead into the break.
The second half was more of the same, as the Huskies used a 21-13 advantage over the first six minutes to push the lead to 48, 88-40, with 13:48 to go. Again it was LeBlanc doing the damage, accounting for eight points in the opening run.
The Huskies would keep the Knights in check for the rest of the way, and the lead reached 50 on a pair of free-throws by Josh Brian, putting the score at 105-54 with 6:05 to go.
HBU clicked on offense for the second straight game, hitting 58 percent from the floor, and used a stifling defense that held the Knights in check, allowing them to shoot just 30 percent on the evening on a dismal 22-74 performance from the floor, including 4-16 from long distance.
Houston Baptist placed six players in double-figures, led by LeBlanc, who tied a career-high with 26 points. LeBlanc completed the double-double effort with a game-high 11 boards. Mike Smith also registered a career-high with 20 points, and also had six assists and five boards.
Michael Holmquist added 15 points and five boards, and Jeff Carroll came off the bench for 14 points.
Charles Fordjour had 11 points and five rebounds and Josh Brian added 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Huskies were generous on the evening, as they dished out 29 assists on 41 made buckets. HBU also blocked nine shots, all in the second half, and cleaned the glass to the tune of 57-34.
Silver Weinholtz, Jeff Carroll and Robert Amboree turned in stellar defensive performances as well. The trio helped limit the Red River's leading scorer, James Whitfield, to just 17 points on 5-14 shooting, eight points below his season average.
Francis Nicholas was the only other SWAU player in double figures with 13 points.
Houston Baptist, ranked No. 25 in the Top 25 poll, improves to 15-7 on the season and 6-2 in Red River play.
Southwestern Adventist falls to 2-14 overall and 0-8 in conference play.
The rout served as a tuneup for Saturday's showdown with conference leader Huston-Tillotson College. The Huskies will be looking to reclaim first-place from the Rams, who sit at 7-1 in the Red River, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 pm in Mary Branch Gym.
HBU handed Tillotson its only Red River loss to date, a 79-72 decision in Sharp Gym on December 8 in the conference opener for both clubs.
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