Oxford fends off second-half comeback to defeat Lafayette

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2023

It was a tale of two halves for Oxford Tuesday night as the Chargers built up a 25-point lead in the first half of their 69-56 victory over Lafayette but were forced to fend off a ferocious second-half comeback attempt from the ‘Dores.

Lafayette went on a 21-5 run in the third quarter, cutting the deficit down to six multiple times in the second half behind strong performances from Kylan Egerson and Shun Flemons.

Egerson, who came into the contest averaging 9.3 points per game, scored eight points in the third quarter alone after failing to record a single field goal in the first half.

Email newsletter signup

He attacked the rim with reckless abandon, taking on multiple defenders and finishing through contact in an effort to keep the ‘Dores within reach.

Flemons also caught fire in the second half, finishing with a team-high 13 points in the loss.

“They’re stepping up at the right time,” said Lafayette head coach Hunter Mason. “Right now is when you really want to start playing good basketball and we’re finally starting to see the pieces coming together… we’re getting better at the right time so hopefully we’re going to start climbing that mountain and peak at the right time.”

The ‘Dores second-half comeback attempt ultimately fell short however as Oxford leaned on a balanced scoring attack to weather the storm and escape with their second victory of the season over their crosstown rivals.

Four Chargers scored in double figures in the victory, including junior guard Miles Luber who finished with a game-high 17 points.

The lefty shooter made his presence felt throughout the game, playing high in the passing lanes to disrupt the Commodores offense and crashing the boards with relentless intensity.

“[Our goal] is not to compete, but to make our opponents compete and that’s what he’s doing,” said Oxford head coach Drew Tyler. “He’s making his opponent compete and really seeing how tough they are. He’s really challenging them… he’s putting his body on the line for his team and he’s showing up other places in the scoreboard besides just points.”

Oxford also enjoyed a stellar performance from senior guard Jake Marsh, who poured in a season-high 13 points and came up with a few key defensive stops in the fourth quarter to preserve the lead.

Tyler spoke highly of Marsh’s performance, calling his nephew “Mr. Consistent” and praising his ability to impact the game in a variety of ways.

“He’s a giant-killer and he’s one of the most coachable guys on our team. He’s been put in every environment: small gym, big gym, home court, away court, neutral court, large crowd, small crowd. This was his last crosstown rival game and he gave every ounce of energy like he always does. He really was our quarterback on the floor with the way Lafayette was guarding D.J. Davis — he picked up a lot of the slack in other places,” Tyler said.

The Chargers will be back in action Friday when they host region rival Grenada before heading on the road to face Tupelo next week.

The Commodores also host a region opponent Friday, with Greenville coming to town for a Region 2-5A clash.