CLEVELAND, TN (goleeflames.com) -- Thanks to a huge block from Rantavious Gilbert, the Lee men's basketball team finished off a thrilling overtime victory over West Florida, 72-70 on Saturday afternoon from Walker Arena.
With Lee up two and just a few ticks left on the clock, the Argonauts drove inside to try and force a second overtime period. Instead, West Florida met up with Gilbert who swatted away the ball to help seal the Flames' first conference win of the season.
The Argonauts were in complete control during the first half of action and jumped out to a 13-point advantage at the break. Lee found the right combination in the second stanza and stormed back to outscore the Argos by a 38-25 margin.
"We did a nice job of powering through screens on their last possession and Rant (Rantavious Gilbert) was in the right place for us. He made a really nice play on the ball to help us hold on for the win. We had some big stops today," said head coach Tommy Brown.
Junior guard C.J. Reese led a group of five Flames in double-figures with 14 points. Gilbert added 10 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks. Jervon Johnson and Keevin Tyus added 11 points while Kenny Nabors pitched in 10 of his, including a huge 3-pointer late in regulation to give Lee the lead.
"Kenny, Jervon and CJ hit some big shots for us down the stretch in regulation and into overtime," added Brown. "I thought we did a much better job of moving the basketball in the second half and that helped us get better looks."
The Flames showcased their depth outscoring West Florida, 29-6 off the bench. Lee held a 38-24 advantage on points in the paint. The Argonauts committed 10 turnovers while the Flames were guilty of 19.
Austin Somerfield scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to pace the visitors. Jason Laatsch added 21 points and hit 5 of 8 from the 3-point line.
After hitting just two 3-pointers in Thursday's loss to Valdosta State the Flames hit 7 of 21 (33.3 percent) in the contest, including 5 of 10 in the second half to overcome the 13-point deficit. The Argonauts shot the ball well from behind the arc (8 of 19) but managed just 32.5 percent shooting from the field in the contest (26 of 80).
The Flames improve to 3-6 on the year and are 1-3 in Gulf South Conference play. Two of Lee's three victories have come in overtime this season. The loss drops West Florida to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the league.
The Flames will finish up the pre-Christmas slate with a road trip down to Alabama next week. On Thursday Lee will challenge North Alabama in Florence before visiting Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday.