TIGERVILLE, S.C. --- The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team held on for a 63-61 win over North Greenville University on Wednesday evening in Conference Carolinas play, surviving a late rally attempt by the Crusaders in Hayes Gymnasium.
North Greenville (8-6, 3-4 CC) won nearly every battle except the one that mattered most, as Lees-McRae (4-11, 4-3 CC) held a two-point edge on the scoreboard when the final buzzer sounded. The Crusaders posted a field goal percentage of 46.9 percent on the night, including an even 50 percent in the first half, as Lees-McRae shot the ball at a 40.7 percent clip in the contest. North Greenville won the battle on the glass by a 38-30 margin, including a 29-21 advantage on the defensive boards.
BJ Battle (Orlando, Fla.) paced the Bobcats with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) equaled a career-high with 12 markers to go along with a team-best eight rebounds. Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) added 12 points of his own, including a 2-for-3 night from downtown while converting each of his six attempts at the charity stripe. Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) also chipped in nine points.
Chris Dean led all scorers with 22 points for North Greenville, while Paul Harrison recorded a double-double with 16 markers and a game-high 15 rebounds. Harrison also posted a contest-best four blocked shots, as Tim Franklin added a game-high six assists.
North Greenville got off to a flying start in the first half, taking an early 9-3 lead on a Harrison jumper that made the senior the program's all-time leading scorer. The Crusaders would hold the advantage for much of the period until the Bobcats launched a 10-1 run over the final four minutes, taking a 30-27 lead into the intermission following a last-second three-pointer by DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.).
The Bobcats carried the momentum into the second half, opening the period with an 18-11 run to stretch the margin to 48-38 on a clutch jumper by Corey Young (Bluff City, Tenn.) at the 9:30 mark. North Greenville would cut the lead to 53-49 with an 11-5 spurt over the next six minutes, and after the Bobcats pushed the margin to 57-49 at the 1:34 mark following a pair of Lamot free throws, pulled back to within one at 60-59 on a clutch lay-in by Jimmy Ellis with 49 ticks left on the clock.
Tillman, Lamot, and Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) would convert four of six free throws down the stretch for the Bobcats, giving Lees-McRae a 63-59 lead with 26 seconds left before a Harrison jumper cut the advantage to 63- 61 with five ticks remaining, which proved to be the final margin.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats host Coker College in conference play at 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.
- LMC -