BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Junior Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) dropped in a clutch layup with less than two seconds left in regulation to propel the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team to an 83-79 victory in a Conference Carolinas overtime thriller on Saturday evening in Williams Gymnasium.
Lees-McRae (8-14, 7-6 CC) posted a field goal percentage of 47 percent on the evening, including a 53.8 percent clip in the second half, as St. Andrews (6-18, 1-11 CC) shot 46.8 percent from the floor in the contest. The Bobcats won the battle on the glass by a 47-35 margin, including a 17-7 advantage on the offensive boards, while converting 17-of-27 attempts at the free throw line.
Sepokas led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting, nearly recording a triple-double with eight rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) added 14 points and six assists, while Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) chipped in 13 markers and five boards. BJ Battle (Orlando, Fla.) posted eight rebounds and a game-high four steals, as Gideon Oji (Imane in Kogi, Nigeria) added eight points and six boards with a 4-for-4 day from the floor.
Ross Williams paced the Knights with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, as Aaron Christian and Ryan Streater added 17 and 14 markers, respectively. Streater chipped in game-highs of nine rebounds and four steals, as Williams posted seven boards.
St. Andrews got off to a strong start in the first half, taking an 18-13 lead on a Williams layup at the 12:52 mark. The Bobcats responded with a 14-5 run, claiming a 27-23 advantage on an Oji jumper with 6:59 to play in the period. After the Knights evened the tally at 27-27 and the Bobcats pushed the lead to 32-27 on a tip-in by Juan Urbina (Barquisimeto, Venezuela), St. Andrews closed out the period with a 12-4 run to take a 39-36 advantage into the intermission following a last-second lay-in by Christian.
Lees-McRae responded with an 11-0 run to open the second half, taking a 47-39 lead on a Sepokas layup with 16:38 to play. After Henry gave the Bobcats a 51-45 advantage with a jumper, St. Andrews countered with an 8-0 run to claim a narrow 53-51 lead on a Streater steal and slam at the 11:41 mark.
The teams would trade buckets over the next eight minutes, as the Knights responded to a Sepokas freebie with layups by Williams and Christian to snatch a 69-66 lead with 1:56 to play. After Tillman cut the advantage to 69-68 with a lay-in, Williams converted a critical three-point play to give the Knights a72-68 lead with just over a minute left on the clock.
Henry and Sepokas would answer the call for the Bobcats in the final minute, as Henry converted a pair of free throws before Sepokas dropped in a clutch layup with just over one second remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
St. Andrews struck first in overtime, claiming a 74-72 advantage on a jumper by Streater before the Bobcats responded with a 5-0 run, taking a 77-74 lead on a critical three-point play by Sepokas with 3:01 to go in the period. After the Knights trimmed the margin to one point on a pair of occasions, the Bobcats' clutch free throw shooting took over, as Lamot and Sepokas converted five of six attempts at the charity stripe over the final 30 seconds to hold on for the win.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Tuesday when the Bobcats host King College in conference play at 7:30 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.
- LMC -