Lathan, Knight combine for 62 in 117-112 victory
Lightning rallies behind 62.2% second-half shooting
Trayvon Lathan racked up 34 points and eight boards on Saturday night and Billy Knight had 28 points on 10-13 shooting, leading the L.A. Lightning to a come-from-behind 117-112 IBA win over the Kankakee Soldiers at the Gilbert Sports Arena.
The Lightning, which trailed by 13 early in the second quarter, shot 62.2 percent in the second half while holding the Soldiers to 39.6 percent. L.A. remained in first place with a 10-1 record.
Lathan has scored 65 points the last two nights at Cal Lutheran, raising his team-high average to 28.1.
IBA scoring leader Ryan Edwards tallied 24 of his game-high 37 points in the second half and also had 12 rebounds for the Soldiers, who are second in the IBA at 11-3. Edwards played all 48 minutes.
Rolando Nunez sparked the comeback with 15 points and five assists. He hit 5-8 from 3-point land and had four triples in the third period when L.A. outscored the visitors from Chicago 39-30 to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit.
The Lightning won for the 27th time in the last 31 home games.
“I had been struggling recently so I got to the gym a little early and just tried to get a rhythm,” said Nunez, a 6-3 guard who’s played professionally in Mexico and Peru. “As soon as I hit my first shot, I just went from there and kept shooting.”
The Lightning posted their second-highest shooting percentage of the year (54.9) and won despite getting outrebounded (54-42) for the first time this season. The L.A. reserves were outstanding, outscoring the Soldier bench 45-9.
“This was a great team effort,” Nunez added. “I know I can help the team and open up the floor when I’m shooting well. We started a little slow and we did a great job of picking up our energy.”
Hassan Stephens added 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists off the bench. Donald Lee added 12 points by hitting 6-7 from the field. Lee is shooting an eye-popping 74.4 percent on the season (32-43).
Billy Baptist had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Kankakee, Stan Chismark added 20 points and seven boards and Anthony Kyle had 13 points and 10 assists.
Edwards gave the Soldiers a 107-102 lead by canning a long 3-pointer with 5:35 to play. Lathan nailed a trey and Knight added a layup to ignite a 12-0 run by the Lightning.
Knight, who hit 4-6 from long range, rolled in a fall-away 14-footer to stretch the lead to 114-107 with 1:05 remaining. Stephens had seven points and six rebounds in the final 12 minutes. He drained 5 of 6 free throws in the last three minutes.
The Lightning hit 71.4 percent in the third quarter, including 6-8 on 3-point shots.
“We were a little out of sync and it took a while to find the right combination,” said coach Ron Quarterman. “We finally found a unit that had a little more energy.”
The teams complete their 3-game series on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Gilbert Sports Arena.