The Lees-McRae College Bobcats hosted Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference rivals Pfeiffer University Monday evening, falling to 110-98 to nationally ranked Falcons. The loss drops the Bobcats record to 3-9, (2-5 CVAC), while the Falcons move to 12-2, (6-1 CVAC).
The pace of the game was fast and furious from the opening tip off, as the Falcons, ranked 13th in the NABC National Poll, looked to use their run and gun offence to overtake the Bobcats. The Bobcats were equal to the task and jumped out to a 10-4 lead, causing the Falcons to call a time out to regroup. The high flying Falcons came back strong with a 10-2 of their own to take their first lead 14-12. The Bobcats would tie the score at 14 with a Stephen Haymer field goal. The teams would battle back and forth basket for basket until Tavares Cooper would nail back to back field goals for a four point Falcon lead, 24-20. Mike Fox would follow up a Mario McClunie field goal attempt with a put back to cut the deficit back down to two, before Derrick Moore and Robert McGriff would drain back to back three pointers to give the Falcons an eight point lead, 30-22. The Bobcats would respond with a 9-2 run to get back to within one with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half. The experienced Falcons would continue to try and pull away from the Bobcats, but each time the home side would claw their way back into the game, tying the score at 44 with a McClunie field goal for the games sixth tie. The Falcons would go on a 7-0 run to end the first half, and go into halftime with a 51-45.
The depth of the Falcons was evident to start the first half, as they came out shooting quickly moving their lead into double digits just over thirty seconds into the half. The Falcons would not let up and continued to widen their lead by as much as 21 with just over eleven minutes remaining. The Bobcats would not roll over for the high powered Falcons, chipping away at the Falcons lead little by little. Bruno Daliu ignited the charge, draining four field goals that sandwiched a Falcon field goal by Logan Call. With three and a half minutes to play, the Bobcats had cut the deficit to seven, but the damage had been done. Down by eight, the Bobcats were forced to foul with a minute and half remaining. The Falcons' Moore split his attempts while McGriff and Cooper nailed a pair each from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
The Bobcats did an excellent job of shutting down the Falcon's DeMario Grier, the nation's leading scorer, (28 pts per game). The Bobcats defense limited Grier to just ten points in the game, his first field goal coming with 12:02 remaining in the second half. Call led the Falcons attack with a game high 20 points and a game high six rebounds, while Cortland Thomas added 19 and McGriff and Cooper contributed 18 a piece.
The Bobcats displayed a balanced offence with all but one player hitting the score sheet. DJ Menifee and Bruno Daliu each recorded a team high 15 points while Blake Carr, Pete Dunbar and Mike Fox contributed 11 each. Menifee, (pictured top left), also tallied a game high seven assists.
Free throws turned out to be the difference maker in the game, with the Falcons going 84% and the Bobcats going 65% from the line.
The Bobcats will complete a three game home stand Thursday
January 18th when CVAC foe Queen's University visits Williams
Gymnasium for a 7:30pm tip off.