Bobcats hold off Cobras, 60-58

HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- Sophomore Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) scored 13 points to lead the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team to a narrow 60-58 victory over Coker College on Saturday afternoon, as the Bobcats held off a late Cobra rally in Conference Carolinas play.

The win marks the first of head coach Steve Hardin's tenure at Lees-McRae (1-13, 1-7 CC), as the Bobcats converted 18-of-20 attempts at the free throw line while knocking down four three-pointers and turning 20 Coker (6-8, 4-5 CC) miscues into 18 points. Lees-McRae posted a field goal percentage of 40.4 percent in the contest, as Coker canned 42.9 percent of its attempts from the floor.

Lamot and Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) paced the Bobcats with 13 points each, as Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) added nine markers with a perfect 9-for-9 night from the charity stripe. DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) chipped in a team-high five rebounds for the Bobcats.

Julian Nelson led the way for Coker with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting, while Larry Felder added a double-double with 10 markers and a contest-best 10 rebounds. Bryce Arnott chipped in game-highs of four assists and four steals.

The first half proved to be a tightly contested one, with the teams trading the lead five times and the squads standing even on six occasions. Neither team would hold more than a four-point advantage throughout the first 20 minutes, with Lees-McRae taking a narrow 7-6 lead on a Tillman lay-in with 14:51 left in the first half, before Coker snatched a 21-18 advantage following a Teon Beckett triple at the 7:23 mark.

A Nelson three-point play with 3:24 left in the half would give the Cobras a 25-21 lead before the Bobcats responded with a 6-0 run, taking a 27-25 advantage on a Henry lay-in at the 1:43 mark. Henry would score the final seven points of the half for the Bobcats, giving Lees-McRae a narrow 30-28 lead heading into the intermission.

The game remained a closely contested affair in the second half until the Bobcats launched a 23-12 run midway through the period, claiming a 60-50 lead following a pair of Lamot freebies with 1:39 to play. Coker would fight back, cutting the margin to 60-55 with 1:09 left on the clock before Nelson knocked down a clutch three-pointer with 51 ticks remaining, trimming the lead to 60-58.

Lamot then made perhaps the play of the day for the Bobcats, stripping the ball with less than five seconds left to seal the victory and prevent the tying opportunity for the Cobras.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Monday when the Bobcats travel to Bristol, Tenn. to take on King College in conference play at 7:30 p.m.

- LMC -