Smith nets game-high 26 points, Bobcats best Bears, 74-64

Photo courtesy of Catawba Sports Information

SALISBURY, N.C. --- Darius Smith (Woodbridge, Va.) poured in a game-high 26 points with a perfect night from the floor, as the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team held off Lenoir-Rhyne University in the second half en route to a 74-64 win and a 2-0 weekend at the Salisbury Roundball Classic.

Lees-McRae (2-0) posted a field goal percentage of 42.9 percent on the night, including a 45 percent clip in the second half, while holding Lenoir-Rhyne (1-1) to a mark of 38 percent in the opening 45 minutes. The Bobcats won the battle on the glass by a 36-24 margin, including a 27-17 advantage on the defensive boards, while outscoring the Bears in the paint, 28-22.

Smith led all scorers with 26 points, going 5-for-5 from the floor and 15-of-17 at the charity stripe, while Mike Chambers (Winston-Salem, N.C.) added 15 markers and a game-high six boards. Darryl Bond (Nashville, Tenn.) and Jacquise Moore (Concord, N.C.) chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, as Smith and Moore each dished out three assists.

R.J. McClure paced the Bears with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting, converting each of his seven attempts at the free throw line, as Rob Noyes added a game-high three blocks. Jarvis Perry chipped in nine points while Matt Kunz pulled down a team-high five rebounds.

The Bobcats got off to a strong start in the first half, taking an early 13-9 lead on a Smith layup before the Bears responded, claiming a narrow 15-13 advantage with 8:59 to go in the period. Lees-McRae countered with a 16-7 run, heading into the intermission with a 29-22 margin following a pair of free throws by Chase Arnold (Kingsport, Tenn.).

Smith and the Bobcats continued to push the tempo in the second half, opening the period with a 12-8 run to widen the gap to 41-30 with less than 14 minutes to go. The Bears battled back, cutting the margin to 43-41 with an 11-2 surge following a jumper by McClure at the 10:39 mark. Lees-McRae quickly regained the momentum over the next four minutes, pushing the advantage to 60-48 with a 17-7 run that included back-to-back treys from Chambers.

The Bobcats would hold on from there, closing out their second victory of the weekend with a pair of late lay-ins by Bond to equal the final margin of 74-64.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Wednesday when the Bobcats travel to Brevard, N.C. to take on Brevard College in non-conference play at 7 p.m.

- LMC -