#ProtectTheShip night at the Lakefront Arena wound up being the perfect theme for the important conference game. Fans were not only rewarded with hashtagged T-shirts, but also a big Privateer victory against defending Southland Conference champions Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA).
The pregame warmups spoke just as loud as “the tale of the tape.” The Privateers came in with a (7-1) home record as well as a three-game winning streak; their confidence showed as almost every shot went in. On the other hand, the Lumberjacks came into New Orleans with a (1-3) road record and a two-game losing streak; their warm up seemed stressful and quite the opposite.
The game started shockingly fast for the Lumberjacks after a slam dunk from junior guard Kevon Harris. The Privateers’ first field goal by sophomore guard Troy Green didn’t come until nine minutes into the game. Shortly after, the Privateers found themselves down by 17 points, and head coach Mark Slessinger called a timeout that would change the momentum of the game. The Privateers made five three-pointers in a run that gave them a one-point lead at halftime.
The Lakefront Arena grew much louder as tensions rose toward the end of the game. Even though the Privateers never lost their lead, the Lumberjacks managed to tie the game four times in the second half. SFA’s senior guard, Shannon Bogues, led the game in scoring with 20 points and gave the crowd quite a scare. In the end, the Privateers created enough separation to win the game, with a pass and dunk from junior guard Bryson Robinson to freshman forward Gerrale Gates. The final score was 61-68 in the Privateers’ fourth consecutive victory. This is the first four-win streak for UNO since January 20-31 of last season.
Troy Green lead the Privateers with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block and 4 steals off the bench. He made both of his three-point attempts, which contributed to the team’s total of eight three-pointers. Green said that the “community … the fans” as well as the efforts of coaches and teammates contribute greatly to the team’s success at home. After the game, freshman guard Damion Rosser said, “More and more students are coming out and giving us all the support we need.”
The Privateers resume conference play on a three-game road trip and come home on January 30 to face Northwestern State.