BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team converted some clutch free throws down the stretch, and held off a late rally by Barton College en route to a 67-62 win in Conference Carolinas play on Saturday evening.
The win marks the Bobcats' first victory over Barton during the Scott Polsgrove era, as Lees-McRae (4-12, 1-8 CC) connected on 42.6 percent of its attempts from the field, while holding the Bulldogs (10-8, 5-5 CC) to a 36.4 percent clip from the floor and an 18.2 percent mark from beyond the arc. Barton won the battle on the glass by a 44-30 margin, including a 19-12 advantage on the defensive boards, while the Bobcats converted 18 Bulldog miscues into 18 points.
Adam McFerran (Stow, Ohio) poured in 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds and recording three steals. Sam Youse (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) joined McFerran in double figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively, as Sepokas posted a game-high seven assists. Youse also recorded a game-high four steals for Lees-McRae.
Jaren Haley (Woodbridge, Va.) recorded a game-high 19 points for Barton, as L.J. Dunn (Raleigh, N.C.) and Jarrett Jernigan (Virginia Beach, Va.) joined Haley in double figures with 18 and 10 markers, respectively. Dunn also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds as Jernigan grabbed eight boards of his own.
Barton opened the first half strong, scoring seven of the game's first eight points before the Bobcats responded, launching a 12-2 run to take a 13-9 lead on a jumper by Tevin Friday (Gastonia, N.C.) at the 12:09 mark. After the Bulldogs knocked down three straight buckets to take a 15-13 lead, the Bobcats answered with a run of their own, going on an 11-0 spurt to claim a 24-15 advantage on a Corey Young (Bluff City, Tenn.) with 8:12 to play in the half.
Lees-McRae would hold the advantage for the remainder of the half, taking a 37-31 lead into the intermission following a Young jumper as time expired. Barton climbed back into the game early in the second half, cutting the lead to 43-41 on an Ethan Maske (Jacksonville, Ala.) layup at the 15:31 mark. Barton would stay within five points for the remainder of the contest, evening the score at 62-62 with 2:10 to play on a pair of clutch free throws by Dunn.
The Bobcats refused to concede, knocked down five of six attempts at the charity stripe down the stretch, while holding Barton without a point in the final two minutes to secure their first conference win of the season.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Wednesday when the Bobcats travel to Misenheimer, N.C. to take on Pfeiffer University in a 7:30 p.m. matchup. The Falcons won the first matchup earlier this season, defeating the Bobcats by a 75-69 score in Williams Gymnasium on Dec. 1.
- LMC -