Being able to defend your home floor separates several playoff contenders from pretenders, and through three district home games the Brownwood Lions have yet to suffer a loss.
The Lions’ most impressive victory in District 16-4A action came with Tuesday night’s 70-61 victory over the University Trojans at Warren Gym, a team whose only previous league setback was a 79-62 defeat at the hands of No. 7 Killeen (26-2, 6-0).
Deandray McDaniel scored a season-high 35 points for Brownwood as the Lions (14-12, 3-3) avenged their 59-57 district opening loss in Waco on Jan. 12 and remained in a third-place tie with four district games to go.
University (11-14, 4-2) reeled off 21 points in the opening 3:55 of the contest, but mustered just 41 points over the final 28:05.
The Lions allowed just 17 points in the second and third periods combined after giving up 29 in the opening frame. But University scored the first seven points of the fourth period to reclaim a 53-48 edge.
The Trojans would not score again for a 4:37 stretch as the Lions strung together 14 straight points to take firm control of the contest, 62-53, with 2:44 left in the game.
Buckets by Parker Taylor, who scored six points off the bench, and McDaniel trimmed University’s lead to 53-52 with 5:04 left.
McDaniel then drained a three-pointer at the 4:22 mark to put the Lions in front for good, 55-53. Rashad Deal, who also scored six points, added another trey 37 seconds later as the lead increased to 58-53.
Another deuce from Deal following a McDaniel steal and a bucket from Taylor capped the run and gave the Lions a nine-point advantage.
The lead peaked at 10 points, 65-55, on a three-point play by McDaniel with 1:58 remaining. University got no closer than six points, 67-61, with 38 seconds left.
The Trojans received 16 points from Marquis Foreman and 13 points each from Ladon Huckaby, Derrick Dooley and Darryl Robinson.
Johnse Howard was the second leading scorer for the Lions — who travel to Waco High Friday night — with eight points.