Lakers Push Winning Streak to Five with 57-50 Win Over Wayne State
Feb. 7, 2008
Erie, Pa. - Behind 20 points from senior Terry Smith, the Mercyhurst men's basketball team pushed its winning streak to a season-best five games by outlasting Wayne State 57-50 Thursday evening at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center.
The Lakers (13-10, 7-6 GLIAC) are three games above .500 for the first time this season and has its longest winning streak since December of 2006. It's also the first time since the 2005-06 season that the Lakers have put together five-straight GLIAC victories.
All five wins have been crucial to the postseason push and with Hillsdale's loss at Gannon Thursday, the Lakers moved into sole possession of third in the GLIAC South Division.
The Lakers have been hot, and so has Smith, whose 20 points gave him three-straight games of at least 20 points and four 20-point efforts in his last five outings.
He was one of only two Lakers in double figures, and he scored 12 in the second period after a slow start. Junior point guard Brian McTear got the Laker offense going early, hitting three of the Laker's six first half 3-pointers for nine points.
Wayne State (9-12, 3-10) opened an early advantage, leading 15-9 with 13 minutes remaining in the first. Mercyhurst did not retake the lead until 1:35 left when Smith capped a 6-0 run with a 3-pointer, giving the Lakers a 28-26 lead into the half.
The Lakers slowly pulled away in the second period using a stymieing defensive effort led by freshman Iddo Cohen's five blocked shots. The Warriors managed 9-of-30 shooting from the field and 2-of-14 from 3-point range.
Despite hitting just seven field goals in the second half, the Lakers led by as many as 12 with 1:38 left.
Wayne State outrebounded the Lakers 42-27 and pulled 19 offensive rebounds. The Lakers offset that margin by forcing 16 Wayne State turnovers.
McTear chipped in 11 points and three assists, and Smith grabbed a team-high seven boards to go along with his game-high 20 points.
It has been defense that the Lakers have relied on throughout the recent run, surrendering just 60.4 points per game in the five wins. The 50 points allowed Thursday was the second lowest point total allowed this season, matched only by the 46 points allowed to Columbia Union on Nov. 18. It is also the sixth time this year that Mercyhurst has held an opponent to fewer than 60 points.
Mercyhurst plays its 2007-08 home finale Saturday when Hillsdale visits The MAC. Prior to the game, the Lakers will honor their four seniors, Luke Handley, T.J. Mathis, Terry Smith and Cory Tubo. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m., and can be viewed on the B2 Networks.
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