Memphis, Tenn. -- Nine days after opening its season with a valiant effort against Valdosta State, the Albany State men's basketball team took a step in the wrong direction Thursday night, losing to host LeMoyne-Owen, 75-64.
The Rams lost by just two points to the Blazers on Nov. 22 in a game where they stormed back an 18-point deficit to nearly force overtime. In Thursday's conference opener, the Rams (0-2, 0-1) looked more like the squad that finished 7-22 last season.
"This was new," ASU coach Chris Cameron said on his way back from Memphis, Tenn. "We didn't play with the aggression we are used to seeing out of these guys. We just weren't aggressive in terms of attacking. We had been attacking in practice and against Valdosta State, but we just didn't focus in (Thursday night)."
ASU trailed by just one point at halftime, but turnovers in the second half allowed LeMoyne-Owen to pull away in the end. Former Albany Tech star Justiin Wilcox led the Rams with 14 points, while Rachard Lofton added 11 and former Albany Tech star Demarcus Blunt had 10.
The team shot just 30 percent from the field -- a stark difference from the sharp-shooting Rams who nearly pulled off that comeback against Valdosta State. But Cameron said his players are still ready to prove they aren't the same team that finished 7-22 last season, and he could see that in their eyes after Thursday's loss.
"These guys want to win," Cameron said. "When they don't win, it upsets them and it makes them want to work harder."
The Rams have another long road trip Monday when they travel to Tuskegee, Ala., to face the Golden Tigers (0-1, 0-1).
LEMOYNE-OWEN WOMEN 82, ASU 76: Former Bainbridge star April Thomas scored a game-high 24 points for the Lady Rams, but it wasn't enough to lift ASU to its first victory.
In a second half with several lead changes, LeMoyne-Owen (3-1, 2-0) made the key plays down the stretch to prevent the Lady Rams (0-4, 0-1) from winning their conference opener.
"We had our opportunities," said coach Robert Skinner, whose Lady Rams led, 31-30, at halftime. "We were in the game with 3-4 minutes to go. It was just a four-point game, but we couldn't make our free throws."
Also for the Lady Rams, Breanna Fields had 17 points, Arneshia Williams scored 14 points and Symone Wilkerson had 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. ASU is on the road for the fifth straight game Monday when they travel to Tuskegee, and the Lady Rams will have their home opener Dec. 12 against Valdosta State.
ANDREW WOMEN 66, SOUTHERN CRESCENT 50: After losing a close game Monday to South Georgia Tech, the Lady Tigers bounced back with a 15-point victory at home Thursday against Southern Crescent.
Four players scored in double figures for the Lady Tigers, who improved to 9-4 and continued their best start in school history since the program restarted in 2006.
Kierra Wright had a team-high 15 points, while Jebreal Alford, Kellie Bacon and Angel Penn each scored 11.
Andrew led by nine points at halftime before pulling away in the second half, thanks in large part to their effort on the boards. The Lady Tigers outrebounded Southern Crescent, 41-30, and Alford had a team-high 11 rebounds.
"We started kinda sluggish," Andrew coach Mike Riffe said. "I didn't feel like we got up and down the floor like we should have. We tried to play too many people, but then we basically had to get back to our roots and do what we have been doing."
The Lady Tigers continue a three-game home stand with a 2 p.m. matchup with West Georgia Tech on Saturday and then finish up their pre-Christmas schedule at 2 p.m. Sunday against Darton.