By LARRY WHITESports Correspondent
BAY MINETTE ? Jeff Lewis hit 10-of-10 free throws in the final five minutes to help his Sun Chiefs to a 77-72 opening game win over visiting Bevill State on Saturday evening at Robertson Arena in Bay Minette.
Lewis, who was a perfect 13-of-13 from the line in the game and had a game high 21 points, hit Faulkner State's final seven points after the Bears tied it at 70-70 with 2:05 remaining in the game.
"Jeff made some big foul shots and some big baskets for us," FSCC coach Jack Robertson said after the game. "Bevill is a well-coached basketball team, give them credit, and to get a win over them is a good way to start the season.
"We are a young and learning team, and we have to learn how to handle a big lead like we had. I expected us to play this way. We came out strong but a little flat in the second half," the veteran Sun Chief coach said.
Faulkner held a 19-point lead in the first half and led by 17 (57-40) with under 12 minutes remaining.
Baldwin County products Brandon Hubbard of Gulf Shores and Marcus Broughton of Bay Minette both played well in their first games in Sun Chief uniforms.
Hubbard had 11 points and Broughton had 10 to join Lewis in double-figure scoring.
Terrance Mitchell added nine points, Tommy Grisham had eight, and Brad Lacey and Mike Washington had six each.
Donte Jackson with four and Scott Walton with two rounded out the Faulkner scoring.
Darrell Hicks had a game-high 23 points to lead Bevill with Bo Amusa adding 16. Joe Lastrape had 10. Grisham had eight rebounds to help FSCC win the battle on the boards 33-30, while also leading the Chiefs in steals with four.
Two Grisham baskets off steals and a Washington two-pointer pushed the home team out to a quick 6-3 lead but the visitors fought back, going on a 11-2 run to grab a 14-8 advantage.
Broughton then dropped in a baby hook, Lacey scored on a put back, Mitchell sank a long three, and Broughton scored again to regain the lead at 15-14.
A Hubbard three-pointer and a Mitchell rebound basket made it 20-18.
Robertson's troops then went on an 18-2 run to get ahead 38-20. Washington had a couple of baskets in the run with Lacey, Lewis and Walton scoring baskets. Jackson then had a steal and a layup and another steal and a basket.
Two Broughton baskets inside capped off the run.
A Hubbard three and a Broughton score from the land got the lead to 19 at 45-26 with 29 seconds left in the first half. A Brad Lacey bucket with 11:45 remaining made it 57-40 before Bevill began to claw back.
FSCC led 61-49 when Bevill, behind Hicks, went on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 63-61 with 5:46 left.
Lewis then made four charity tosses in a row and Grisham scored from the baseline to make it 69-64 but Amusa and Lastrape helped the Bears tie things up at 70-70.
Lewis then converted a three-point play inside and added four more free throws to allow the Chiefs to hold on for the win.