Erskine holds off Lees-McRae, 69-61

Box score

DUE WEST, S.C. --- The Erskine College men's basketball team outscored Lees-McRae College by a 30-22 margin in the first half and held on for a 69-61 victory down the stretch in Conference Carolinas play on Wednesday night in Belk Arena.

Erskine (7-16, 3-9 CC) shot 46.9 percent from the floor on the night, including an even 48 percent in the first half, while limiting Lees-McRae (7-14, 6-6 CC) to a field goal percentage of 33.3 percent in the contest. The Flying Fleet won the battle on the glass by a 43-36 margin, including a 32-24 advantage on the defensive boards, while outscoring the Bobcats 22-14 in the paint.

Brandon Quarles and Casey Sorrell both posted a game-high 18 points to pace the Fleet, as DeShaun Hall and Corey Sorrell added 13 and 12 markers, respectively. Quarles and Hall added game-highs of nine boards and four assists for Erskine.

Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) and Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) led the way for Lees-McRae with 12 points each, as BJ Battle (Orlando, Fla.) and Gideon Oji (Imane in Kogi, Nigeria) added nine and eight markers, respectively. DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) and Sepokas chipped in game-highs of 10 rebounds and three steals, respectively.

Erskine opened the game strong, taking an early 9-4 lead on a three-pointer by Corey Sorrell before the Bobcats responded with a 6-0 run, claiming a 10-9 advantage on a jumper by Juan Urbina (Barquisimeto, Venezuela) at the 12:04 mark. After Corey Sorrell knocked down a triple to give the Fleet an 18-12 lead, Battle and Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) connected on back-to-back shots from downtown to even the tally at 18-18 with 6:29 to play in the half.

Following a steal and a slam by Battle that gave the Bobcats a 20-18 lead, Quarles poured in 10 straight points to help Erskine open a 28-20 advantage with 2:16 left on the clock. Casey Sorrell would knock down a jumper to push the margin to 30-20 before Henry converted a pair of freebies to cut the lead to 30-22 heading into the intermission.

The teams traded baskets for much of the second half, as Casey Sorrell knocked down back-to-back jumpers to give the Fleet a 40-29 lead with 17:06 to play. Lees-McRae would trim the margin to seven on four occasions over the next six minutes, cutting the lead to 47-40 on a three-pointer by Corey Young (Bluff City, Tenn.) at the 10:35 mark.

Erskine responded with a 10-5 spurt, opening its largest lead of the game at 57-45 with a triple by Travis Liner with 5:34 to play. The Bobcats would cut the margin to 62-55 on a clutch jumper from Battle with 1:22 left on the clock, before trimming the lead to 65-59 following a pair of Sepokas freebies with 29 ticks remaining. Erskine's strong free throw shooting would seal the win over the final 30 seconds, as the Fleet converted four clutch freebies to equal the final margin of 69-61.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats host St. Andrews University to resume conference play at 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -