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Men’s College Basketball: Lewis defeats Olivet Nazarene 79-64

Ryan JacksLewis | File photo

Ryan Jackson, of Lewis | File photo

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Updated: December 13, 2013 6:20AM



After an impressive exhibition slate that included a win over Loyola and close losses to DePaul and Northwestern, Lewis was tested by NAIA foe Olivet Nazarene in Monday’s regular-season opener.

In the end, though, Ryan Jackson and Julian Lewis made sure the year began with a victory.

Jackson scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half and Julian Lewis added 13 of his 19 after the break as the Flyers erased a 37-36 halftime deficit and pulled away for a 79-64 win at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville.

“Olivet came out and took it to us in the first half,” Jackson said. “We had a pretty good preseason, and it seemed like we weren’t ready to play. In the second half, we just wanted to compete and play defense. We gave up a lot of easy buckets in the first half. We just had to play our game.”

Lewis trailed 44-42 with 17:30 left in the game before taking over with a 21-7 run over the next 12-plus minutes.

Jackson led the surge with 10 points.

The Flyers turned the game around by getting to the basket and converting easy buckets or getting to the free-throw line.

“That’s what we do,” Lewis coach Scott Trost said. “We have a dribble-drive offense. We made better decisions at the rim, we made good passes. Our shot selection was better in the second half. I liked the way we responded.”

After eight straight points on a three-point play from David Niggins, two Jackson free throws and a Gabe Williams basket, Lewis led 63-51 with 9:10 left.

The scrappy Tigers (1-1) fought back to within six, but Jackson hit two more free throws and Julian Lewis thrilled the home crowd with back-to-back thunderous dunks that made it a double-digit lead for good at 71-59 with 4:35 left.

The Flyers finished 22-of-24 from the line, with Jackson going 12-of-13.

Lewis also picked up its defense in the second half, holding Olivet to 9-of-31 shooting after the break after the Tigers went 13-of-32 in the first half.

Lewis struggled to contain Olivet guard Austin Davis in the first half as Davis buried five three-pointers on seven attempts and scored 19 points in the half, including a go-ahead trey with three seconds left.

Julian Lewis finished with eight rebounds. Jeff Jarosz had 11 points and Nick Valla eight for the Flyers.

Davis finished with 22 points to lead Olivet.



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