Lions finish strong; secure 74-69 win at Martin Methodist
"Fitzgerald Hopkins led the Lions with 22 points"
Martin Methodist

Lions finish strong; secure 74-69 win at Martin Methodist

Mon, Nov. 28, 2016 - [Men's Basketball]

Matt Barker, Sports Information Director

PULASKI, Tenn. - The Freed-Hardeman Lion basketball team started the game strong and finished it even stronger, as they were able to hold on for a 74-69 victory over Martin Methodist College Monday night in Pulaski, Tenn. 

Fitzgerald Hopkins led the Lions (4-2) on the offensive end, as he put up 22 points in the match-up, including a 5-for-7 shooting night from behind the arc. Austin Dempsey followed close behind with 16 points of his own while Joseph Williams led FHU on the glass with eight rebounds, six of which came in the first half.

The Lions came out firing to start the game, as they jumped out to an early lead, courtesy of hot shooting from Austin Dempsey, who led the Lions on the offensive end with 11 first half points.

The Lions shot an impressive 45 percent from the field in the first half compared to Martin Methodist (5-3), who shot just 31 percent from the field on 11-for-25 shooting. Caleb Chowbay led the Redhawks in the first half with 11 points, including a 5-for-9 shooting performance from the field.

The Lions would lead by as many as 11 in the first half at the 31-20 mark with 5:15 remaining in the opening stanza. The Redhawks; however, would close the gap to seven at the 36-29 mark, as they out-shot the Lions 8-5 to close the half.

The Lions utilized a variety of players in the first half, as 17 points came from the bench while Martin Methodist was not quite as deep, as their bench only contributed six points in the first half.

Martin Methodist would turn things around to start the second half, as they out-shot the Lions 8-4 in the opening three minutes to cut the lead to five at the 40-35 mark with 17:30 remaining. The Redhawks would cut the lead even further on the ensuing possessions, as they out-shot the Lions 5-2 over the next two minutes to even things up at 42 apiece, capped off by a three point field goal by Redhawk Forward Albert Lynch with just under 15 minutes remaining.

The Redhawks would continue to connect on the offensive end, as they reached their largest lead of the game at the 63-56 mark with 6:36 remaining in the game, courtesy of a 7-0 run.

The Lions; however, would not go down without a fight, as they responded with a 7-0 run of their own to even things up at 63 apiece, capped off by a three-point field goal by Fitzgerald Hopkins with 3:29 remaining.

Hopkins would answer again at the 1:46 mark with another three point field goal to put the Lions up 68-66 and follow it up with two clutch free throws with 20 seconds remaining to put FHU up 70-68.

FHU would foul on the ensuing possession to put Martin Methodist on the line with 10 seconds remaining. Redhawk Forward Will Smith would miss the front end of his free throws to allow the Lions to keep a 70-69 lead. 

From there, the game would come down to free throws, as Hopkins and Spencer Garner would both respond down the stretch to secure the 74-69 win for the Lions.

With the win, the Lions move to 4-2 on the season. Martin Methodist falls to 5-3 on the season with the loss.

UP NEXT: The Lions continue their road schedule Thursday, December 1, as they make the trip to Paragould, Ark. to face Crowley's Ridge College. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 PM.