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Boys basketball: Turnovers lead to Salisbury’s doom

BY MIKE DUPREZ

The Lexington Dispatch

Lexington’s JaKishe Page poured in 26 points and Lexington’s suffocating press forced a whopping 36 turnovers as the Yellow Jackets crushed Salisbury 78-55 in a key Central Carolina Conference game on Tuesday.

“We came out and played hard because everybody said North Rowan was the best team in the conference,” Page said. “We had to show them. We had to show them who was the best.”

In winning their seventh in a row, the Jackets (16-4, 6-1 CCC) are still tied for first with North Rowan but appear to have the momentum in the chase for a conference championship.

“They’re a great team,” said Salisbury coach Jason Causby. “They’re coached very well, extremely athletic.”

It did seem like the Jackets were coming from everywhere with their full-court press. Senior center Nolan Benson had 18 points and seven rebounds. Devin Cross had 10 points, seven assists and four steals. Daniel Reid-Bennett had eight points and six assists. Coleman Hayes had eight points and six rebounds.

D.J. Alexander and DeShawn Troutman each scored 16 points for the Hornets, who kept it close for a half. The Hornets (14-7, 4-3 CCC) even briefly took a two-point lead late in the second quarter on Alexander’s coast-to-coast layup.

But Hayes buried a 3-pointer to break a 32-32 tie with 34 seconds left and Page knocked down one from behind the arc at the buzzer to send the Jackets to the locker room with a 38-32 lead, not to mention momentum.

The Jackets maintained their edge and finally managed to avoid 6-foot-7 center Tre Oats, who had blocked five shots. An 8-2 run that gave Lexington a 14-point lead broke the Hornets’ backs.

At one point, Causby sighed after yet another Hornet turnover.

“Turnovers killed us all night,” Causby said. “As we started digging a hole, then you start doing things you’re not accustomed to doing. Then doubt starts creeping in. You get that look in your eyes. They see that, they attack and don’t let up.”

Benson added an exclamation point with a rousing two-hand slam dunk in the fourth quarter and Lexington’s lead grew to as much as 26 points.

Salisbury hosts Thomasville on Friday, and Lexington is on the road at West Davidson.

 

SALISBURY          12           20           12           11 – 55

LEXINGTON        18           20           21           19 – 78

Salisbury (55): Alexander 16, Troutman 16, Fazia 7, Oats 7, Leckonby 6, A. Yang 2, Milsaps 1.

Lexington (78): Page 26, Benson 18, Cross 10, Reid-Bennett 8, Hayes 8, White 4, Welborn 3, Charles 1

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