The No. 13 Express men's basketball team used the "Big Three" of John Murry (North Central/Indianapolis, Ind.), Shaakir Lindsey(Teaneck/Teaneck, N.J.) and Bikramjit Gill (Our Ascension of the Lord/Toronto, Ontario, Canada) to cruise past No. 17 Sinclair Community College 116-92 in the SHAC today.
The trio combined for 70 points, led by Murry's game and season-high 28 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes. Lindsey finished with 22 points, a season-high 12 assists and five rebounds. Gill, who faced a tough matchup inside against Sinclair's bigs, poured in 20 points, along with a game-high 10 rebounds, a team-high three steals, two assists and one block.
Lindsey finished 9-for-13 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3-point range, while the trio all together shot 30-for-47 (63.8 percent) from the field. It was Lindsey's second game of 10 or more assists in the past three games.
None of those three played over 30 minutes. Andy Bachman (North Side/Fort Wayne, Ind.) played a team-high 30 minutes and shredded Sinclair from long range. The sophomore had 15 points, five rebounds and one steal while finishing 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
Midway through the first half, Sinclair's Ramar Hairston made a pair of free throws to put his team up 23-20 with 11:30 left. Lindsey came down and buried a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound and assist from Kenny Jones (Clay/South Bend, Ind.) to tie it up.
After each team traded baskets, Jones scored five straight to start a 9-2 Express run that gave them a 36-27 lead and a little breathing room as they never trailed again. Sinclair chipped away and cut the deficit to 39-31 on a Charles Sweatt-Washington jumper with 7:39 left, but the Express went on a 7-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Murry to lead 46-31 with 6:33 left in the half.
Up 62-48 at halftime, the Express scored the first 10 points of the second half to break the game open. Lindsey hit a jumper and a 3-pointer, followed by a Bachman 3-pointer and a Murry jumper that made it 72-50 with 17:51 remaining.
The game remained around a 20 point lead the rest of the way. The Express hit the century mark with a lay-up from Gill with 8:28 left.
The Express shot 26-for-44 (59.1 percent) from the field overall in the first half, including a 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) performance from 3-point range. In the second half, the Express were nearly as good as they finished 23-for-42 (54.8 percent) overall and 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) from 3-point range. For the game, the Express shot 49-for-86 (57 percent) overall and 12-for-29 (41.4 percent) from 3-point range.
The Express also out-rebounded Sinclair 43-35 overall and 17-12 on the offensive glass. They had more points off turnovers (27-10), second chance points (23-15), points in the paint (66-48) and held a lead of as many as 28 with 3:45 left.
The game featured five ties and 12 lead changes.
Sweatt-Washington and Hairston each scored 18 to lead five players in double figure scoring for Sinclair. Richard Weaver added 16 off the bench, while Trace Cureton (14) and Westley Parr (12) also scored in double figures.
With the win, the Express won their seventh straight and 13th of their past 14. They are now 19-4 overall and 6-0 in OCCAC play heading into a big home rematch against Lakeland Community College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.