ROMEOVILLE, Ill. — Lewis senior guard David Bryant scored 16 of his game-high 19 points, including three 3-pointers, in the second half to lift the host Flyers to a 75-71 Great Lakes Valley Conference upset against No. 3 Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday.
This marks the second season in a row that the Flyers have defeated the Panthers when they were ranked in the Top 10. The Flyers earned a 82-74 win against KWC on February 9, 2012. This is the fourth time that the Flyers have beaten a ranked KWC squad during the seven-year tenure of Lewis head basketball coach Scott Trost.
“We were resillient [Thursday],” Trost said. “We overcame some adversity…at the end of the game and found a way to win against a really, really good team.”
Forwards Julian Lewis and Kyle Nelson combined for 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Lewis was a perfect 6-for-6 and finished with 14 points and five rebounds, while Nelson collected 13 points, six rebounds and five blocks against the Panthers.
With the win, Lewis improved to 11-5 on the campaign and 5-3 in GLVC action, while the Panthers are now 14-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
KWC reserve center Dazmond Starke led five Panthers in double-figures with 18 points. Panther guards Lucas Barker (14 points) and Kreig Oxley (11 points) combined to go 7-for-10 from beyond the arc. Junior forward Donovan Johnson was a perfect 4-for-4 and finished with 13 points, while Rico Ferguson added 11 points, four assists and three steals off of the bench.
With the exception of the opening three minutes of the second half, the Flyers were in control of the contest. With the score tied at 41 with 16:51 left in the second half, the Flyers went on an 8-0 run, led by 3-pointers from Bryant, Gabe Williams and a basket by Ryan Jackson. That pushed the Flyers to a 49-41 lead with 15:38 left in regulation.
KWC cut that lead to 60-56 with 6:41 left in the contest, following a pair of free throws by Johnson. The Flyers responded with a 7-0 run, highlighted by five points by Bryant, during the next 1:41 to give them the lead at 67-56.
The Panthers tried to take advantage of five Flyer turnovers over the final 3:11 of the contest and drew to within three at 72-69 with 1:07 left in the game. The combination, however, of three Bryant free throws and the Panthers’ inability to score down the stretch proved to be the end for KWC.
The Flyers were aided by a solid performance at the free throw line, as Lewis knocked down 82.6 percent (19-for-23) of its charity tosses, including a 14-for-18 performance in the second half. KWC shot 57.1 percent (12-for-21) from the free throw line, including 11-for-18 in the final period.