BANNER ELK, NC - In a game featuring ten lead changes and four ties, all in the first half, the Lees-McRae College Bobcats came up on the short end of a 108-103 Conference Carolinas men's basketball contest with rival Pfeiffer University at Williams Gymnasium Wednesday evening. Pfeiffer improves their record to 17-5 (13-3 Conference Carolinas) while the Bobcats fall to 4-19 (3-14).
After the Bobcats held the early 8-4 lead just under two minutes into the game, Robert McGriff pulled the Falcons to within one with a field goal from beyond the arc. For close to eight minutes, neither team would muster larger than a three point margin, each possession tightly contested. After falling behind 23-18 with 11:49 to play, the Bobcats knotted things at 23. The Bobcats would manage to gain the lead on two occasions before the Falcons made what proved to be their final push with 3:33 remaining in the first half going on a 12-4 run to head into half time with a ten point advantage 47-37.
The experienced Falcons came out flying in the second half, capitalizing on the momentum built late in the first half increasing their lead to 13 and holding no less than a ten point cushion until Raysean Hairston's field goal with 17:19 showing on the clock. Fouled on the play by Jeff Pettiway, Hairston (Elizabethtown, NC) sank his freebie from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to nine. After clawing to within five with16:07 to play, the Falcons would again go up by double digits, only to see the youthful Lees-McRae squad come back time and time again, eventually pulling to within three, 94-91, with 4:33 to play.
With 1:12 remaining, the Bobcats pulled to within one after Aaron Willey (Kingsport, TN) sank both of his free throws, 99-98. After Pettiway also sank a pair from the line, the Bobcats took possession with 1:05 on the clock, down three. The experience would pay off again for the visitors as Derrick Truesdale stole the ball with 0:45 left forcing the Bobcats to foul. McGriff would split his attempts to make the contest a four point margin. Nick DeSchepper (Fishers, IN) would draw the foul for the Bobcats and sink his free throws to pull the home side to within two, 102-100, with 0:23 left to play. The Bobcats would send McGriff to the line again, this time however, McGriff made both to restore the four point advantage for the visitors. A Bobcats turnover forced them to foul again, allowing Pettiway to increase the lead to six with just ten seconds remaining. DeSchepper's three pointer would continue to give the youthful Bobcats life, however with three seconds on the clock time would not be on their side.
After shooting a woeful 36.4 %, (12 of 33) from the field in the first half, the Bobcats responded with a 64.7%, (22 of 34) effort to shoot 50.7% for the game, slightly better than the Falcons 50% (35 of 70). The Falcons held the advantage on the glass and from the free throw line, with 40 boards and 29 out of a possible 33 points from the line. The Bobcats pulled down 35 boards, but only scored 27 out of a possible 36 from the charity stripe.
"We played with a great deal of character this evening and did many good things as a team on the court, overall a great effort," commented Head Coach Scott Polsgrove. "Unfortunately we missed too many opportunities in the first half, easy shots we should have made. We battled hard in the second half, competed and had a chance to win against a very good Pfeiffer team."
Logan Call went 10 for 13 from the floor to lead the Falcons with a game high 29 points. Pettiway would pick up 22 while McGriff and Chris Woods would register 14 and 10 respectively.
Hairston and DeSchepper led the Bobcats with 22 each, with Aaron Woodacre (Piney Flats, TN) draining 16 and Willey adding ten. Jesse Hoots (Yadkinville, NC) and Mario McClunie (Knoxville, TN) each registered seven points and were credited with six and five assists respectively.
The Bobcats will return to action this Saturday, hosting Newberry College in non-conference action at Williams Gymnasium. Tipoff is set for 2:00pm.
PICTURED: Raysean Hairston