Falcons squeeze past Bobcats, 75-69

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Davon Gilliard (Charleston, S.C.) poured in a game-high 17 points to lead the Pfeiffer University men's basketball team to a 75-69 win over Lees-McRae College on Wednesday night in Conference Carolinas action.

Pfeiffer (4-3, 2-0 CC) converted 20-of-24 attempts at the free throw line on the night, while transforming 24 Lees-McRae (3-3, 0-1 CC) turnovers into 18 points. The Bobcats won the battle on the glass by a 39-31 margin, including a 14-11 advantage on the offensive boards, while knocking down 45.5 percent of their attempts from the floor. Pfeiffer connected on 40.4 percent of its field goal attempts, including a 5-for-12 second half from beyond the arc.

Gilliard paced the Falcons with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, dishing out a game-high five assists while going 3-for-4 from the charity stripe. Jeff Pettiway (Edgewood, Ind.) and Chris Woods (Thomasville, N.C.) tallied 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Josh Humphrey (Matthews, N.C.) posted 13 markers and a team-high seven rebounds.

Sophomore Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) equaled Gilliard's game-high of 17 points for the Bobcats, knocking down 5-of-8 shots from the floor and 2-of-5 from downtown while dishing out a team-high four assists. Adam McFerran (Stow, Ohio) and Sam Youse (Winston-Salem, N.C.) joined Sepokas in double figures with 10 points each, while Dairl Scott, Jr. (Pfafftown, N.C.) pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. McFerran chipped in seven boards of his own, while DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) posted a game-high two blocks.

Neither team held more than a six-point lead for the duration of the game, a contest which featured 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The Bobcats started the game on a strong note, rebounding from an early 5-3 deficit with a 6-0 run, opening their largest lead of the contest on a McFerran layup with 16:32 on the clock to take a 9-5 advantage.

Pfeiffer would battle back, launching a 10-2 run to take a 15-11 lead on a Humphrey triple at the 14:25 mark. Youse answered right away for the Bobcats, knocking down a three-pointer to trim the margin to 15-14 and kick-start a 9-3 LMC run, which was capped by a Tillman put-back that gave Lees-McRae a 20-18 lead with 10:36 remaining in the half.

After the Falcons responded with an 8-2 run to reclaim the lead at 26-22, the Bobcats answered with a 4-0 spurt to even the score at 26-26 on a pair of free throws by Tevin Friday (Gastonia, N.C.) with 5:53 left in the period. The two teams would trade the advantage twice in the final five minutes of the half, with Pfeiffer closing the period with a 4-0 spurt to take a narrow 38-35 lead into the intermission.

Lees-McRae answered quickly early in the second half, evening the score at 38-38 on an early three-pointer by Reshon Benjamin (Valdosta, Ga.). After Pettiway and Sepokas each connected from downtown to keep the score knotted at 41-41, the Falcons went on the attack, launching a 10-4 run to open their largest lead of the game at 51-45 with 14:12 left on the clock.

The Bobcats answered with a run of their own, reclaiming the lead with a 9-2 run to take a 54-53 advantage on a clutch driving layup by Gerry Hairston (Winston-Salem, N.C.) After Pfeiffer answered with a pair of free throws and the Bobcats responded with a 4-0 spurt to take a 58-55 advantage, the Falcons took control, launching a 9-2 run of their own to take a 64-60 lead with 6:58 to play.

Lees-McRae would stay within striking distance for much of the final seven minutes, pulling within two on a trio of occasions before Pfeiffer closed out the win with a 4-0 spurt over the last minute and a half to claim a hard-fought 75-69 victory.

The Bobcats return to the court on Saturday when they travel to Wilson, N.C. to take on Barton College to continue their conference schedule. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Wilson Gym.

- LMC -