HIGH POINT, N.C. --- Lees-McRae junior Raul Tutton dropped a season-high 21 points while the Bobcats held the lead for the first 26 minutes of the game, but a late rally by High Point proved detrimental while the Panthers held on for a victory, 85-78, in an exhibition game Friday night at the Millis Center in High Point, N.C.
Tutton (Memphis, Tenn.) scored five points early while the Bobcats jumped out to a 12-6 lead. The Panthers responded and cut the deficit to one, 18-17, following a three-point play from Cliff Cornish with 13:14 remaining in the opening period.
LMC rattled off a 13-3 run following a deep three from freshman Mike Chambers (Winston-Salem, N.C.) to give it its largest lead of the game, 31-21.
High Point (4-9) chipped away and cut the lead to four after Jorge Perez-Laham hit a jumper at the buzzer to make it a 43-39 game in LMC's favor.
Tutton and Chambers were efficient from the field during the first half, shooting a combine 8-for-13 and 24 points.
The Panthers offense came to life to start the second half thanks to a six-point outburst from Lorenzo Cugini, giving HPU its first lead of the game, 51-50.
Both teams exchanged buckets until High Point went on a 12-4 run to take a 69-59 lead with 9:44 remaining in regulation.
Senior Darius Smith (Woodbridge, Va.) got into the mix when he tallied six points in a two-minute span to bring the Bobcats within two.
Donte Falls (Shelby, N.C.) hit a pair of free-throws to knot it at 77 with 3:11 remaining, but High Point finished the game on an 8-1 run to seal the victory.
Smith and Chambers impressed with 17 points apiece while the Bobcats knocked down 11 three's in the game. The Panthers shot 63% in the second half and held a 44-24 advantage in the paint.
LMC returns to action when it faces Belmont Abbey Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Charlotte, N.C.
- LMC -