Cavaliers find their range to top Red Rams
Southern Lee drained seven three-pointers, with three each by Charles Wicker and Jamal James, in the last eight minutes to shoot past visiting Franklinton for a 57-54 win, the first Cavalier win of the season, Monday night.
The Cavs connected on two three-pointers through the first three quarters. Trailing 38-33 going to the fourth period, the Cavaliers suddenly caught fire in quick bursts of Wicker and James being in the zone.
In a game of runs, Franklinton finished the third period with a 12-0 rally to take the lead. The Red Rams opened the game jumping out to a lead, forcing all sorts of Cavalier turnovers in the early going.
The Cavs answered to take a 16-11 lead by the end of the first quarter. Franklinton scored the last six points of the first half to get within a 27-26 Cavalier lead.
Southern Lee scored the first three buckets of the second half before being hurt by turnovers again and the Red Rams moving in front again.
That's when the two diminutive Cavalier guards started firing away from three-point range. Wicker hit a three for the first basket of the fourth period, then a steal led to James pulling up and hitting a triple from beyond the top of the key to put the Cavs ahead, 39-38.
A couple minutes later, Wicker turned a Cavalier fast break into a three-pointer, with a pump fake, step back, then three from the right corner. Cameron Martin made a deep three from the left wing, followed by James launching and hitting again for a 52-46 Cavalier lead with 3:05 left.
The Cavs still led by six in the final seconds and missed free throws, with three straight Cavalier trips to the line for 1-and-1 chances coming up empty, allowed the Red Rams one final shot to tie.
After grabbing a missed free throw and calling a timeout with two seconds left, the Red Rams had to go the length of the court but got a pretty good chance. Tykwon Crudup fired a 90-foot strike to Tre' Gaither near the right sideline and Gaither's fadeaway three-pointer was an airball.
DaQuan Neal led the Red Rams with 16 points. The Red Rams (3-2) and Cavaliers (1-3) lost 25 turnovers each.
Kevin McLeod scored 12 points, largely in tough work around the hoop, for the Cavaliers, keeping the Cavs close until the sudden three-point shooting. Wicker scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and James had nine of his 14 points.
Larry McLeod, Southern Lee's other starting post player, had four points, five boards and three blocks. He fired up the Cavs in the early seconds with a two-handed put-back dunk on a Cavalier fast break.
Wicker had a team-high five steals and James had a team-high five assists.