December 6, 2012

Late surge pushes Bears over Bobcats, 87-69

HICKORY, N.C. --- Matt Kunz posted a double-double with game-highs of 19  points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lenoir-Rhyne University men's basketball team to an 87-69 win over visiting Lees-McRae College in non-conference play on Thursday evening.

Lenoir-Rhyne (6-1) shot 57.6 percent from the field on the night, including a 59.3 percent clip in the second half, while holding Lees-McRae (0-8) to a field goal percentage of 39.1 percent in the contest. The Bears won the battle on the glass by a 43-26 margin, including a 27-12 advantage on the defensive boards, while outscoring the Bobcats by a stretch of 52-24 in the paint.

Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with 14 points, knocking down two three-pointers and going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. The sophomore guard also posted game-highs of six assists and three steals, as Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) and Charles Clarke (Orlando, Fla.) each added 10 points. Chad Eppley (Boone, N.C.) chipped in nine points with a trio of three-pointers, while DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.) hauled down a team-high five rebounds.

Kunz led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting while also posting a double-double with a game-high 10 boards. Allan Jones chipped in 16 markers and six rebounds off the bench, while R.J. McClure and Rob Noyes added 12 and 11 markers, respectively. Alex Watkins recorded a team-high five assists for the Bears, as Jarvis Perry and Denzel Dillingham each notched four helpers.

Lenoir-Rhyne never trailed in the game, opening an early 11-3 lead following a Perry lay-in before pushing the advantage to 21-9 on a Dillingham bucket with 10:57 to go in the half. After Lamot responded with a three-pointer to cut the lead to 21-12, the Bears countered with a 7-3 spurt to take a 28-15 lead after McClure answered a Sepokas triple with a trey of his own at the 7:44 mark.

The Bobcats would counter with a 12-6 run over the next several minutes, cutting the lead to 34-27 on a fast-break jam by Kyle Burton-Harper (Charlotte, N.C.) off a Lamot steal with 1:17 left in the half. Lenoir-Rhyne answered with a pair of buckets to close out the period, carrying a 41-27 lead into the intermission following a last-second lay-in by Noyes.

The Bears carried the momentum into the second half, opening the period with a quick 4-2 spurt to stretch the lead to 45-29 before the Bobcats responded, closing the gap to 46-39 with a 10-1 run that was capped by a Clarke lay-in with 16:10 to play. Lenoir-Rhyne would counter with an 11-2 run, pushing the advantage to 57-41 following a Trey Beverly layup at the 13:38 mark.

The Bobcats would whittle away at the deficit over the next six minutes, cutting the advantage to 69-61 with a 20-12 run that was capped by a crafty layup by Brown with 7:40 left on the clock. The Bears countered quickly, answering with a 14-1 surge to stretch the margin to 83-62 to put the game out of reach following a layup by Trez Shuford with 2:11 to play.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats host Brevard College in a non-conference matchup at 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -