By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
OXFORD – After their starters were announced before the start of Tuesday’s game against Oxford, the entire Lafayette team ran to a picture of senior forward Sherquan Herod on the gym wall and huddled around it.
The Commodores returned to the court for the first time since the incident Friday in which Herod collapsed and was resuscitated by Lafayette staff.
Dedicating the Crosstown Classic to him, the Commodores came up just short of a big win, falling 55-53 to Oxford.
Lafayette did not take its first lead of the game until the fourth quarter. An old-fashioned three-point play by Brandon Mack, who scored a game-high 18 points, put the Commodores up 42-41.
The Chargers and Commodores exchanged blows the rest of the quarter, changing leads four times and knotting things up evenly three other times.
Two free throws by Mack gave Lafayette their biggest lead at 51-47 with 2:38 to play, but Oxford (15-6) responded with a 6-0 run to retake the lead.
After Joshua Barry retied the game on two free shots, Justin Fondren and Justin Hill hit 1 of 2 from the charity stripe on consecutive trips for the winning margin.
The Commodores (1-9) twice had a chance to tie or go ahead, but a charge and pass out of bounds ended the game.
“I feel like we won two games tonight. We won it, lost it, had to go get it and win it again,” Oxford coach Drew Tyler said. “In 15 years, this is probably the loudest I’ve ever seen this gym.”
Lafayette coach Nacoma James said not jonly was this gam dedicated to Herod, but the rest of their season will be played in honor of him.
“We dedicated the rest of our season to him,” James said. “I told the team ‘now when you get on the court you’ve got to make sure you’re giving 100 percent for Sherquan.'”
James confirmed Herod will undergo a procedure today to insert a defibrillator to his heart and is still in good condition.
Luke Gibbs and Romeo Johnson each scored 14 to lead the Chargers.
(G) Oxford 73, Lafayette 45: Erika Sisk scored 21 points as the Lady Chargers (19-0) remain undefeated.