BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Andrew Morris banked in a buzzer-beating layup in the second overtime period Saturday evening in Williams Gymnasium to lead the Coker College men's basketball team to an 80-78 win in Conference Carolinas play, after battling back from a 14-point deficit late in the second half.
Lees-McRae (0-7, 0-4 CC) posted a field goal percentage of 43.6 percent on the night, including a 57.1 percent clip from beyond the arc, while holding Coker (2-3, 1-1 CC) to a mark of 36.7 percent from the floor. Coker won the battle on the glass by a 52-41 margin, including a 21-9 advantage on the offensive boards, while outscoring the Bobcats, 40-20, in the paint.
Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) paced the Bobcats with team-highs of 16 points, six rebounds and six assists, as Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) added 12 markers with a 4-for-9 night from the floor. DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.) chipped in 11 points with a 3-for-5 performance from behind the arc, while Chad Eppley (Boone, N.C.) posted 10 markers on 4-of-5 shooting, including a 2-for-3 night from downtown.
Morris led the way for Coker with a game-high 19 points, knocking down five three-pointers with grabbing seven rebounds. Larry Felder and Sharod Williams each posted a double-double on the night, as Felder recorded 17 points and 12 rebounds and Williams added 13 markers and a game-high 15 boards. Julian Nelson and Bryce Arnott each notched a game-high six assists.
Lees-McRae opened the first half on a 6-3 run before Coker responded with a 10-3 spurt of its own, taking a 13-9 lead following a tip-in by Felder with 11:18 left in the period. The Bobcats answered with a 12-4 run, claiming a 21-17 advantage on a triple by Eppley before Coker countered with a 9-1 surge to take a 26-22 lead following a Felder three-point play at the 4:57 mark.
The Bobcats responded once again with a 14-0 run, capping the surge and the half with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from 35 feet out to take a 36-26 advantage into the intermission. Lees-McRae carried the momentum into the second half, opening the period on a 10-7 run to push the lead to 46-33 on a Lamot triple with 15:40 to go.
Coker would keep pace and slowly chip away over the next 10 minutes, cutting the lead to three points at 64-61 following a Morris triple to cap an 8-0 run with 2:30 left on the clock. After Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) answered with a clutch layup, Williams countered with a lay-in and two free throws to cut the lead to 66-65 with 1:34 to go.
Sepokas would convert a free throw with 23 seconds left to give the Bobcats a 67-65 advantage before Nelson answered for Coker, banking in the game-tying layup with five ticks on the clock to send the game into overtime knotted at 67-67.
The Cobras carried the momentum into the overtime period, taking a 70-67 lead following a Felder layup and an Arnott freebie before the Bobcats answered with a Brown triple to knot the score at 70-70. After Morris countered with a layup to give the Cobras a 72-70 advantage, Sepokas converted a pair of free throws to send the game into a second overtime period knotted at 72-72.
Neither team would open more than a two-point advantage in the second overtime period, with the Bobcats claiming a 78-76 lead on a Sepokas freebie with 1:04 following a strong layup by Henry. Nelson countered for the Cobras 14 seconds later, knotting the score at 78-78 with a lay-in with 50 seconds left on the clock.
Coker would have a chance to hold for the last shot 30 seconds later, when an errant Bobcat pass sailed over the baseline with 24 ticks on the clock. The Cobras would do just that, failing to capitalize on a pair of desperation opportunities before Morris made a great read from the top of the key, making a run onto a missed jumper and banking home the buzzer-beating layup to give the Cobras a hard-fought 80-78 victory.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Thursday, December 6 when the Bobcats travel to Hickory, N.C. to take on Lenoir-Rhyne University in non-conference play at 7 p.m.
- LMC -