GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - The Lees-McRae College (0-9) men's basketball team fell to the Tusculum College Pioneers (6-2), 53-15, Wednesday night on a pair of free throws with 3.2 seconds on the clock at Pioneer Arena in a nonconference game.
Tusculum got a season-best 18 points from Jimmy Boone off the bench, including 16 markers in the second half. Boone shot 7-for-12 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point territory.
Lees-McRae's Nick DeSchepper (Fishers, Ind.) accounted for 17 points, including his clutch three-pointer with 36 seconds remaining to tie the game at 51-51.
Tusculum's Kyle Moore missed a three-point shot with five seconds left, but Bennett came up with the huge rebound, his sixth offensive board of the night and 10th overall in the game. He made both free throws, and following a LMC timeout, rookie Taylor Hobbs intercepted the inbounds pass at midcourt to seal Tusculum's third straight win.
It was a defensive stalemate in the first half as neither team shot above 31 percent as the Bobcats (0-9) led 21-20 at the intermission (LMC 31%, TC 26.9%).
In the second period, Lees-McRae came out on fire, going on a 12-0 run in the first 5:12 to take a 33-20 advantage. The Bobcats shot 5-for-7 during the run, capped off by a four-point play by DeSchepper with 14:48 remaining in the contest. During the spurt, TC missed its first four shots, while committing four turnovers.
Boone stopped the bleeding for Tusculum with his three-point play 23 seconds later to bring Tusculum back within 10 (33-23), but Jesse Hoots (Yadkinville, N.C.) answered with a three-pointer to move the visitors back up by 13.
With Lees-McRae leading by 11 (40-29) with 8:41 left, Tusculum went on a 15-4 run to tie the game at 44-44 on a Moore three-pointer four minutes later. The Bobcats regained the lead with four straight points coming on an Aaron Woodacre (Piney Flats, Tenn.) jumper and a pair of free throws by Hoots to go up 48-44 with 3:41 left on the clock.
Tusculum scored seven straight points down the stretch, including a bucket and trey by Boone and two free throws by Bennett as TC led by 53-50 with under a minute to play.
After a Lees-McRae timeout, the play was set for DeSchepper as he launched a 22-footer from the right wing under heavy pressure that found the bottom of the net to knot the contest for the eighth time to set up the late game heroics by Josh Bennett and the Pioneers.
The Bobcats shot 41.2 percent in the game, including 12-for-22 (54.5%) in the second half. Tusculum was limited to 34 percent in the game, but was sizzling at the free throw line going 13-for-15, including six in a row down the critical stretch.
The Pioneers won the board battle by a 36-31 margin, including 13-9 on the offensive glass.
Moore had nine points and led the team with four assists in his 32 minutes of action. Ryan Troutman tallied 16 points, nine rebounds and a pair of steals, while Bennett added six points to go along with his game-high 10 boards.
Behind DeSchepper's 17 points, Lees-McRae got nine points by Woodacre, while Kyle Boardman (Clemmons, N.C.) contributed eight points and a team-best seven rebounds in the loss.
Lees-McRae will be at home on Saturday for a 4 p.m. contest with Conference Carolinas foe Pfeiffer University.
2008 Season Stats
Pictured: Nick DeSchepper