Josh Jefferson

Lake Land's Josh Jefferson goes up for a layup during Wednesday's season-opener against Robert Morris-Peoria at Laker Fieldhouse.

MIKE ESTELL, FOR THE JG-TC

MATTOON — A hot start and strong team effort lifted Lake Land Lakers men’s basketball to a decisive win over visiting Robert Morris–Peoria Wednesday.

All 15 players that touched the court added their name to the scoring column for head coach Brandon Colvin’s Lakers in a 102-75 win at Laker Fieldhouse.

Sophomore guard Josh Jefferson and transfer center Amel Kuljuhovic each scored 17 to lead the Lakers (1-0) in the season-opening win. Robert Morris–Peoria guard Travis Morgan led all scorers with 19 points.

Despite a clear size disadvantage, Robert Morris–Peoria was able to win a 24-18 battle on the boards in the first half, a challenge assistant coach Jacob Stephens knew his team would face coming into the matchup.

“We focused on boxing out everybody this week,” he said. “We knew what we were coming into size-wise — we’re always going to be outmatched.”

Laker coach Colvin realized the problem and made the necessary adjustment during halftime to even the rebound battle at 44 all to end the game.

“We weren’t getting our box outs,” he said. “We weren’t getting good pushes off the guys. I think we did a better job in the second half and as the game went on.”

Colvin is well aware of his team depth and said the guys are still working to figure each other out.

“With our depth and us pressing the way we’re pressing, it’s going to be very key for us to have that depth,” he said.

Adding the need for the depth to be consistent all year.

Freshman guard Tra Landers provided Colvin’s team with a needed spark off the bench, allowing the Lakers to keep up a strong press that forced 25 Robert Morris–Peoria turnovers.

Landers scored 10 points off the bench in his first game as a collegiate athlete and credits his teammates to ensuring he comes into games focused and stays on track.

The Lakers remain home to face Tennessee Prep Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip.

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