BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College Bobcats rallied from down 14 points with less than a minute to play, but came up short, 77-74, against the visiting North Greenville Crusaders Tuesday night in a nonconference men's basketball game in Williams Gym.
After North Greenville's Paul Harrison made a layup with 52 seconds to play to give the Crusaders a 75-61 lead, the Bobcats mounted a comeback. Jesse Hoots was fouled following the inbound and knocked down both free throws to trim the lead. On the North Greenville inbound, Sean Hardin forced a steal that lead to a Jeremy Helms three. Again the Bobcats forced a turnover, this time Hoots came up with the ball and found Reshon Benjamin for the three to cut the lead to six, 75-69. The Bobcat pressure forced another turnover on the inbound on another Hoots steal and another three by Helms. The Bobcats forced their fourth straight turnover on the inbound leading to a Benjamin reverse layup to make it a one-point game, 75-74. The Crusaders called a timeout to help the ball in, but the Bobcat pressure forced the Crusaders to burn their final timeout of the game with 5 seconds remaining. After the timeout the Crusaders got the ball in forcing the Bobcats to foul with 3.8 seconds remaining. The foul sent Luke Lattimer to the line, and he knocked down both free throws to give the Crusaders the 77-74 lead. On the Bobcat inbound Jesse Hoots got an open look at a three from just inside half court, but the attempt came up short give the Crusaders the win.
The game started with the Crusaders sprinting out of the gates to a 13-point lead, 18-5, just eight minutes into the game. However, the Bobcats would go on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 18-14 three minutes later. North Greenville answered with a 14-0 run to take a 32-14 lead, for their largest lead of the game, and carried a 38-25 lead into the intermission.
Following the break the Crusaders pushed their lead back to 18, 47-29, with 17;48 to play in the half, but the Bobcats would scramble and cut the lead to six, 53-47, with just over ten minutes to go. Six minutes later the lead was again in double-digits as the Crusaders held a 66-52 advantage with just over four minutes to play that lead to the climatic finish.
Helms came off the bench for the Bobcats to score a team-high 21 points going 8-for-13 from the floor and 6-of-8 from behind the three-point line. Sam Youse followed with nine points, and Benjamin and Josh Kurtz added eight points apiece. Kurts was 1-of-2 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Anthony Johnson paced the Bobcats with four assists, and Hardin and Hoots had a team-high four steals.
For the Crusaders, Harrison notched a double 35 points, on 15-of-21 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Harrison also led the team with three assists and two blocked shots. Lattimer had 18 points and was the only other Crusader with double-digit points.
As a team, the Crusaders were 65 percent from the floor and 58 percent from three, but only made 54 percent of their free throws. The Bobcats were 32 percent from the floor and from behind the arc. They also knocked down 77 percent of their free throws.
Lees-McRae will host Coker College Saturday at 4 p.m. in a Conference Carolinas game for their next game.