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Lincoln does it again to Center Line PHOTO GALLERY

  • Abes center DeAngelo White (1) looks to make a pass as Center Line guards Jashun Houston (12) and Joe DiBella defend in the first half Thursday. (Photo by Bill Roose)
  • The Abes prepare to introduce their starting lineup for the MAC Silver-Bronze tournament Thursday night at Lincoln. (Photo by Bill Roose)
  • Center Line sophomore guard Jashun Houston (12) drives to the basket against Lincoln junior Jordan Singleton in the first quarter of Thursday's game. (Photo by Bill Roose)

Defense sparks Abes to 74-68 win

It happened again.

For the second time this season, Lincoln’s bigs were too much for Center Line to handle on both ends of the floor, helping the Abes to a 74-68 upset victory in the first round of the MAC Silver-Bronze Division Tournament on Thursday.

“We live off our defense,” Lincoln coach Stephen Benard said. “We’ve been getting a lot of turnovers and our rotations are good. I feel like we have the lineup right now that we need.”

Sparked by junior center DeAngelo White and sophomore forward Jalen Passmore, the Abes raised havoc in the paint. White and Passmore scored 19 and 18 points, respectively, for Lincoln, who advances to Tuesday’s semifinal at Marysville (11-5).

“We knew (White) was going to a problem, but the surprise was Passmore,” Center Line coach Chris Manchester said. “He was unbelievable. He did a lot better than I thought he was going to do.”

Lincoln, who entered the tournament as a No. 4 seed, jumped to a 21-11 lead and never trailed, taking a 39-33 lead into intermission.

But it was the third quarter that really catapulted the Abes to their second win over Center Line this season. The Panthers (11-5) suffered their worst loss of the season at the hands of Lincoln, dropping a 14-point home decision to the Abes back on Dec. 17.

And just like the last time, the third quarter Thursday proved to be the difference maker when match-up problems got the best of Center Line’s post players.

“The last time we played Lincoln they had a great third quarter,” Manchester said. “I really wanted them to not get out to the lead, but they’re just big, a lot bigger than us.”

Lincoln’s smothering defense led to a lot of mistakes by the top-seeded Panthers, who started the second half without a field goal in 12 straight possessions.

Asked about his team’s third-quarter successes against the Panthers, Benard said, “Usually it’s the other way around. It’s a process with a team. We feel it’s been a long year and we’re preaching third quarter. We have to win the third quarter. We did it today, so we won.”

Senior Delvon Hawkins scored 12 points and junior Johnny Rutherford added seven points for the Abes (10-7).

Not even an incredible performance by Jashun Houston, who scored a game-high 27 points, could lift Center Line over the hump. The Panthers’ sophomore point guard scored 18 point in the first half.

Another sophomore guard, Lantz Barton, scored 16 points, and senior guard Redwan Hussain added 12 points for the Panthers.

“They have a couple of shooters and a point guard who can get to where he wants to on the floor,” Benard said. “We don’t play a lot of guards in our division who can play like that kid, so he makes me a little nervous.”

Last Updated: 2/16/2017 10:09:45 PM EST


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