BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Belmont Abbey College men's basketball team utilized a strong defensive effort, and superb free throw shooting en route to an 80-67 win over Lees-McRae College in Conference Carolinas action on Thursday night in Williams Gymnasium.
Belmont Abbey (8-8, 4-5 CC) shot 45.3 percent from the field, including a 58.1 percent clip in the second half, while holding Lees-McRae (3-12, 0-8 CC) to a 36.5 percent mark from the floor on the night. The Crusaders won the battle on the glass by a 46-40 margin, including a 32-22 advantage on the defensive boards, while outscoring the Bobcats 12-2 on the fast break.
Adam McFerran (Stow, Ohio) paced the Bobcats with a double-double, recording 17 points and 10 rebounds while going 8-for-15 from the field. Tevin Friday (Gastonia, N.C.) joined McFerran in double figures with 12 points, as Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) and Matt Eller (Lake Norman, N.C.) each tallied 11 markers. Sepokas also dished out a game-high six assists, as DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) and Sam Youse (Winston-Salem, N.C.) each recorded a contest-best two blocks.
Tyshawn Good (Jamaica, N.Y.) paced the Crusaders with a game-high 26 points, connecting on 8-of-16 attempts from the field and going a perfect 10-for-10 at the charity stripe. Richard Barbee, Jr. (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Kyle Phillips (Lexington, S.C.) each recorded a double-double for the Abbey, pouring in 17 and 10 points, respectively, while also each tallying a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Abbey scored the first five points of the game before Lees-McRae responded, launching a 14-2 run to take a 14-7 lead with 14:19 left in the half on three straight triples by Eller, McFerran and Youse. Belmont Abbey answered with a run of its own, cutting the lead to 16-14 with a 7-2 spurt that was capped by a Matthew Beerse (Morrow, Ohio) triple at the 9:45 mark.
Lees-McRae would hold the lead for the next seven minutes until Barbee, Jr. converted a critical four-point play with 1:28 left in the half, knocking down the three-pointer and converting the ensuing free throw to even the score at 32-32. Friday then converted a late free throw to send the Bobcats into the intermission with a narrow 33-32 lead.
The Bobcats carried the momentum into the second half, opening the period on a 10-4 run to take a 43-36 lead on a Tillman layup with 17:13 to play. Belmont Abbey would battle back, taking a 47-45 lead on a Good jumper at the 12:23 mark on the heels of an 11-2 run. Lees-McRae answered with a 7-4 spurt, claiming a narrow 52-51 margin on a Sepokas layup before the Abbey countered, launching a 7-0 run to take a 58-52 lead with 9:42 to play, an advantage which it would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
After the Abbey stretched the lead to 64-54 with a 6-2 spurt, Lees-McRae answered with a pair of buckets to cut the margin to 64-58 on a McFerran layup with 4:57 left on the clock. Belmont Abbey would take control from there, closing out the win with a 16-9 run to equal the final margin of 80-67.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats host Barton College (10-7, 5-4 CC) to continue its conference schedule. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium as the LMC athletic department hosts Suits and Sneakers as part of the American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer.
- LMC -