After a tough non-conference stretch, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions basketball team has begun conference play with three consecutive wins. The Golden Lions defeated the Alabama A&M University Bulldogs Monday night by a final of 81-65. According to UAPB Head Coach George Ivory, the Golden Lions are playing good basketball at this time.
"It feels good anytime you start the conference the way we have," Ivory said. "We're playing good basketball we have to keep working hard."
Throughout the first half, both teams were neck-and-neck, and both shot above 50 percent from the field. The Golden Lions took a 37-34 lead into halftime, and from that point they made the necessary adjustments to make a difference in the second half. Defense helped UAPB pull away from AAMU, and on offense the Golden Lions finished with four players in double figures scoring wise.
In the second half, the Golden Lions held the Bulldogs to 31 percent shooting from the floor, while they managed to shoot 51 percent from the floor. The Bulldogs went cold as the defense of the Golden Lions began to stiffen.
"We did a better job of closing out on shooters in the second half," Ivory said. "We stayed in front of them to force shots, and we crashed the boards to eliminate extra possessions."
The Golden Lions finished with two starters and two guys off of the bench in double figures. Trent Steen was the high man for UAPB with 15 points on 7-10 from the floor, and fellow starter Ghiovanni Robinson went 5-8 from the floor and finished with 12 points. Ivory noted the bench production that the Golden Lions have gotten has been big. Kennedy McKinney was efficient, as he went 5-7 shooting for 14 points, and the same can be said for Travon Harper, who went 6-9 shooting for 13 points.
"We've been emphasizing playing together as a team," Ivory said. "Any night we can be led by different players, and we're getting a great contribution from our bench."
Now, the Golden Lions will take their undefeated conference record on the road for a couple games. The first of their two-game road stretch will be against the Southern University Jaguars on Saturday night.
"It's very important that we took care of our home stand," Ivory said. "Going on the road, we'll be challenged. We have to take care of the ball and control the boards. I think we'll have a good chance to have success on our road swing."