ABA BASKETBALL

Watson scores franchise-best 42 points to lead South Carolina Warriors past Fayetteville Flight

dwetzel@thesunnews.comJanuary 22, 2013 

— It was a simple concept.

And Lashun Watson used it to set a South Carolina Warriors franchise record.

Watson scored 42 points – the highest individual scoring output in team history – to lead the Warriors to a 158-118 win over the Fayetteville (N.C.) Flight on Tuesday night.

The way in which he poured it in was a simple play the Warriors execute often.

“We run a wheel and then double down for a screen and he goes behind the screen to get an open jumper,” Warriors coach John Kefalas said. “We run the same play for [Kellen] Brand and he got 37 the other night.”

While Watson is a good jump shooter, Kefalas said, he also poses a threat if teams over-play his ability to shoot.

“He’s got great penetration too,” Kefalas said. “If they try to guard him [up close], he needs one inch and he’s gone.”

With a substantial lead late, the Warriors started to run clock to slow down the pace of the game. That also opened up other opportunities for Watson.

“In the spread he went to the open spot. He’s a slasher as well and can get himself opener,” Kefalas said. “We got in that spread and he gets the open jumper or slashes. He’s hard to guard when he gets the ball.”

Playing in his second game in a Warriors uniform, Donterious Hughes added 20 points and 11 assists off the bench, former CCU standout Jon Pack returned from injury to have 14 points and nine rebounds, and Brand finished with 22.

However, Kefalas said his team’s defense was spotty at best Tuesday.

“We tried to get in a running match with them, [which] we shouldn’t because they were small team,” Kefalas said.

South Carolina allowed 30 points in the first quarter before settling down the Flight in the second frame, where they held Fayetteville to 17 points. Kefalas said the defense slipped a little in the third before the clock-running scheme helped the Warriors take control.

“We gave up too many points in the first quarter. In the third quarter our defense lacked,” he said. “We didn’t cover the 3. When you play against a team that’s hot like that you want to use the clock. We went to the spread and rotated and created a lot individual play – a lot of openings in the middle. That’s how [Hughes] got so many assists.”

Kefalas was again impressed with the team’s newest member.

“[Hughes] played a lot better defense. He played great defense tonight,” Kefalas said.

Overall, it was another good win as the Warriors improved to 15-1.

“I thought we did well,” Kefalas said. “We had our best crowd tonight. We had a hell of a crowd tonight.”

The Warriors hope to get another good turnout when they host the Palmetto Rizers at the Carolina Forest Recreation Center at 7 p.m. Saturday.

South Carolina beat the Rizers 116-92 in their first meeting and 144-130 in the most recent contest in December.

“They’ve played us tough,” Kefalas said.

Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295.

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