Men’s basketball faces growing pains after loss of two seniors

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Photo by Kayla Drake

Lion’s guard Vijay Blackmon (No. 10) dribbles the ball up, looking for an open teammate on Feb. 1, 2020. The Lions lost to the University of Southern Indiana 74-83.

Brandon Clark, Reporter

The men’s basketball team is competing with roster shortages, and arguably two of its best players for a significant amount of time.

Seniors Vijay Blackmon and Anthony Christian both are potentially out for the remainder of the season. Blackmon tore a ligament in his shooting hand against Quincy at home on Jan. 16 and Christian fractured his tibia in his lower right leg during the game at Illinois-Springfield on Jan. 14.

Both Blackmon and Christian bring veteran experience to the hardwood, as they are both fifth-year seniors. Christian has had the lead role off the bench this season being the sixth man, who averaged 23.8 minutes a game in matchups he competed in. Blackmon was on the higher end of the minutes scale, as he played upwards of 33.1 minutes a game, only trailing T.J. Crockett.

Christian played a key role as one of the better all-around players in the lineup. Hes crafty around the rim, a productive driver, and a defensive presence for the team that is much needed in the home stretch of the season. Christian was also the third leading scorer on the team, as he put up 10.8 points per game and snagged 40 defensive rebounds for the team in just 10 games.

On top of the rebounds, Christian also averaged a steal per game for the Lions on the defensive side of the ball. But arguably his greatest asset to the team is that he is one of the high motor guys on this young roster. Hes always fired up, and always finds a way to get the best out of his teammates in crucial situations.

Blackmon, on the other hand, is the second leading scorer on the roster. Someone that commonly ran the one spot as a primary ball handler and play caller, the senior was averaging 13.5 PPG on around 35% shooting from the field. 

Lindenwood as a team averages 80.0 PPG on the season, a tally that’s ranked third in the GLVC. But if you take away Blackmons 13, and Christians 11, thats only a 66.0 PPG average. It becomes more stressful when your opponent averages roughly 77.8 a game as well.

As of right now, Lindenwood ranks sixth out of 15 in the GLVC point system. They need to be in the top eight to make the conference tournament. The team has two opportunities at home this coming week to end January against Rockhurst and Southwest Baptist.