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Fayetteville 135, Florida 95

Patriots Rout Flame

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., March 9 -- The Fayetteville Patriots rebounded from a lethargic opening six minutes - thanks to a timely timeout and a stern talking-to by coach Mike Brown - and rolled to a 135-95 win over the Florida Flame on Thursday night.

Eight players scored in double figures as Fayetteville posted its third win in four games and improved to 9-25. The Flame dropped to 21-16 with the loss.

"Everyone did a great job tonight," Brown said. "We played unselfish and everyone got to play some good minutes. As coaches, we like that."

The Flame jumped out early and built a 15-8 lead on the shooting of Lenny Stokes, who scored eight points in the first five minutes. During a break with 5:24 left in the period, Brown challenged his team.

"I told them we were letting down on defense and they were just scoring too easy on us," he said. "We are a team that needs our defense to generate opportunities for us. We just needed to lock down."

When play resumed, Amir Johnson and Kevin Lyde each hit a pair of free throws, Melvin Sanders scored on a layup, and Lyde sank a short jumper to cut the lead to one. Johnson followed with a layup to put the Patriots up to stay. Fayetteville outscored Florida 19-6 after the pivotal timeout, and by the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, the lead had ballooned to 20.

"They got us tonight," said Flame coach Jeff Malone, whose leading scorer and leading rebounder, Bracey Wright and Theron Smith respectively, both missed the game with injuries. "Yeah, we were missing some guys but that's no excuse. We just didn't compete. Sometimes, lesser talent rears its ugly head in a game like this and we need some guys to step up."

Johnson finished with 22 points , while Mateen Cleaves had 20. Erik Daniels added 18, Ryan Randle 14, and Lyde and Alex Acker had 13 each. Darnell Miller scored 11 points and dished out seven assists. Cleaves and Acker had four assists apiece.

"All of our guys contributed tonight," Brown said. "You can tell by the way the assists were spread out, we shared the ball. We made the extra pass."

Stokes led all scorers with 24. Jonathan Moore added 19 and Torrian Jones had 13.

The two teams square off again in Fayetteville on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.