ALEXANDRIA—Jevon Berry’s layup off the glass with two seconds to play lifted the No. 21 LSUA men’s basketball team to a thrilling 91-89 victory over in-state rival No. 2 LSU-Shreveport on Tuesday night at The Fort.
Berry scored eight of his 10 points in the second half to aid the comeback, including scoring while getting fouled to tie the score midway through the second half.
“I just knew we needed a bucket in that situation,” Berry said. “I was able to just drive the lane and come through with that basket.”
Freshman Rodney Munson continued his strong play with 34 points on 13-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point territory. The point total is tied for the fifth most in a single game in LSUA history. He also added six assists and three steals, which led the team, and his seven rebounds was tied for second.
“The coaches told me to not rush anything,” Munson said. “My teammates were able to find me when I was open and I was able to come through.
“I was able to find open teammates in transition, and every time they doubled me, I was able to dish it off the open man.”
Munson’s 34 points was one off a season high for the Generals. The redshirt freshman from New Orleans is averaging 21.8 points per game in his last five contests.
LSUA (16-2 overall, 4-0 RRAC) is on a 15-game winning streak, dating back to November and improves to 5-0 in games decided by five points or fewer. Freshman Devonte Snow had a memory at The Fort with a bucket and foul with the free throw giving LSUA the 77-76 win over Mobile on Dec. 5. The win gives the Generals sole possession of first place in the Red River Athletic Conference.
“It was an awesome win for the Generals,” Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Cordaro said. “Rodney had a big night, making big play after big play down the stretch. His big plays and the defensive stops were huge for us. It was just a gutsy performance.”
The Generals defense stopped the Pilots on five of their last six possessions, including forcing turnovers on two of their final three. The defense held LSUS to just one made field goal in the final three minutes, enabling LSUA to overcome a five-point deficit with three to play.
From there, LSUA finished the game on a 10-3, beginning with back-to-back triples by Munson before LSUS’s Jeff Boyd nailed a corner 3-pointer to put the pilots back on top. A pair of free throws by Snow set the stage for the final shot by Berry.
LSUS (13-1, 5-1), which saw its 27-game winning streak dating back to last season snapped, built a six-point lead on two occasions in the second half, but LSUA fought back both times.
The last defeat by the Pilots also came at The Fort when LSUA came back from an 88-73 deficit to finish the game on a 20-2 run to emerge with a 93-90 win.
The Generals shot the lights out to begin the game, building a 44-29 advantage behind six made triples. Junior Casey Smith, who scored all 15 of his points in the first half, buried three 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes to help open up the lead.
LSUS came back finished the first half on an 18-3 run, aided by seven of their 12 first half made free throws during the stretch. A triple by LSUS’s Kelvin Henry, Jr., tied the score at 47 going into the locker room.
Junior Joe Lewis saw his string of three consecutive double-doubles end, but he finished with seven points and eight rebounds. Jaewon Williams also did work on the glass, grabbing seven rebounds, including a team-high four on the offensive glass.
Snow hounded LSUS’s leading scorer Kadavion Evans all game, forcing him to shoot 3-of-11 for 10 points, less than half of his season average.
As a team, the Generals held the highest scoring team in the country (104.5 ppg) to 15 below its season average and the fifth-best 3-point shooting team in terms of makes per contest (11.5) to just four made triples.
“Snow is one of the best defenders we’ve had in our seven years in existence,” Cordaro said. “As a team, in the second half, we were able to get down in a stance and dominate defense with our feet and not reach and kept them off the free throw line.”
On offense, LSUA shot 49.3 percent against a team that was third in the country coming in, allowing teams to shoot just 37.5 percent against them.
LSUS’s second leading scorer, Leondre Washington poured in a team-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass, for his first double-double of the season.
Akeem White added 21 points for the Pilots and grabbed six rebounds.
It is a quick turnaround for LSUA, as the Generals play their last home regular season game against Texas A&M-Texarkana on Thursday at 7 p.m.