Too much Lee for 3 gets Jordan past ECH
When Mike Lee plays well, Jordan usually plays well.
But when Lee is knocking down 3-pointers, the Falcons are extraordinarily hard to beat.
Lee poured in 19 points, including four 3s in the third period to help Jordan withstand a furious, final-minute rally to beat East Chapel Hill 57-56 on Monday.
“Mike Lee was pretty good tonight,” Wildcats coach Ray Hartsfield said. “We expected that out of him, (but) we didn’t expect that triple shooting. We don’t normally get that triple shooting out of Mike like that, but he did a good job of knocking down the 3 and keeping us at bay.”
Jordan (16-7, 7-3 PAC-6) led 28-24 early in the third quarter when Lee started firing. He made 4 of 5 long-range shots in the period, including one with less than a minute remaining as the Falcons took a 45-38 lead into the fourth.
Arthur Reese made a fast break layup and Josh Thompson sank a pair of free throws to put Jordan up by nine with 1:21 left in the game.
That’s when the Wildcats (9-14, 2-8 PAC-6) kicked it in high gear. Arkavius Parks and Tykeem Woodard hit 3s to bracket a fast-break bucket by Carter Collins (14 points) as the Wildcats cut the lead to two, 55-53.
Thompson made 1 of 2 free throws with 23 seconds left to give ECH a chance to tie, but Robert Wilson missed a contested 3.
“We called for a step-back, and they pulled out a little bit farther,” Hartsfield said. “We’d like to see another swing. I thought we kind of hid away from the ball on the back side instead of coming to it. We didn’t give our teammate a passing angle, so we’ve got to do a little bit better job of that.”
Jordan made 3 of 6 free throws in the last 41 seconds, including Lee’s foul shot with six seconds left that iced the game. Woodard hit another 3 as time expired.
“They played a very good game, and, in the fourth quarter, they shot the ball very well,” Jordan coach Kim Annas said. “That allowed them to get back in the game, and they made a good game of it. I was proud of the way our kids responded. We missed a couple free throws, but, down the stretch, we hit enough to win.
“Mike had a good game tonight. He took care of the ball. Offensively, he knocked down some big shots for us. He did a good job of defending, as well. He sets the tone as a point guard; that’s what he should do.”
Annas was happy to take a victory — any victory — into the PAC-6 tournament, which begins today. The Falcons are the No. 2 seed and hope to carry some momentum into the playoffs.
“The tournament starts (today),” Annas said, “and this is a good way to start this week off.”