Tyler Coleman drops 34 points
Big-time players play their best in big-time games.
Lane Titans men’s basketball head coach Bruce Chavka said sophomore guard Tyler Coleman proved to be a “big-time player” at the Titans’ Feb. 13 match against the Southwestern Oregon Community College Lakers.
The Titans snagged a 69-64 victory from the Lakers on the strength of Coleman’s game-high 34 points, 11-for-18 shooting, six steals and four rebounds.
“He’s starting to become more aggressive, which is benefiting us as a team,” Chavka said. “He’s a difference-maker and the way he’s played the last two games has been nothing short of impressive.”
Coleman dropped 33 points in the Titans’ Feb. 9 game against the Chemeketa Community College Storm. The Storm earned first place in the Southern Region after the Titans blew a 16-point lead late in the game on their way to a 95-85 loss.
The game against Southwestern Oregon was for second place in the Southern Region and with the victory, Lane now has an inside track to the No. 2 seed and an outside shot at catching Chemeketa for the potential No. 1 seed in the region.
“I’ve just tried to be more aggressive and Jarred (Kelsay) and (Alex MacNeil) have been doing an amazing job of getting me the ball in a shooting position,” Coleman said. “Hopefully I can keep it and we can keep up the momentum and get these other wins.”
The game was close from the get-go, with no team able to run away from one another.
Southwestern Oregon tried to push the tempo against the Titans, using a pressure defense to get turnovers and run the court. Lane wouldn’t succumb to the pressure, often capitalizing on the defensive breakdowns by the Lakers to go into the half leading 28-24.
The Titans shot 29 percent (10-for-34) from the field, including 20 percent (3-for-15) from beyond the arc. Lane’s defense did a good job on the Lakers, holding them to 31 percent (8-for-26) shooting and 29 percent (4-for-14) from three-point territory.
The second half began with both teams exchanging baskets before the Titans began to slowly pull away with free-throw shooting. Lane shot 16-for-20 in the half to help push their lead to double digits near the end of the game.
Lane watched that lead begin to slip away as Southwestern Oregon got back into the game.
Before the Lakers could tie the score, let alone take the lead, Lane found its shooting touch and upped the defensive pressure to maintain control of the game and eventually put out the five-point win.
For the game, Lane shot hit eight three-pointers with Coleman accounting for seven of them. Freshman Keynan Middleton added 11 points while sophomore Alex Coleman, Tyler Coleman’s brother, added a game-high nine rebounds.
Lane sophomore Levi Strandberg and Tyler Coleman went a combined 11-for-12 from the free throw line with most of those 11 coming down the stretch when they mattered most.
“It got scary there for a while but we did a much better job this game than we did against Chemeketa,” Chavka said. “We showed that we are learning how to play down the stretch and have that killer instinct — plus we held our own and showed composure to get the win.”
The Titans return to action Feb. 16 when they take on Clackamas Community College at 4 p.m. in Eugene. The Titans are currently tied with Southwestern Oregon for second place in the region yet hold the tiebreaker. The Cougars are currently tied for fifth place in the region, one game behind the fourth and final playoff spot.
The Titans previously defeated Clackamas 87-80 in overtime at their Jan. 19 game.
“Every game is important for us now and we can’t afford to take anybody lightly,” Alex Coleman said. “We are fighting for our lives and control our own destiny so it’s on us now.”