Photo Courtesy of Jacob Turner
BELMONT, N.C. – Trailing by as many as 18 points Wednesday night at Belmont Abbey, the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team made a valiant effort to not only tie the score to force overtime but also defeat the Crusaders, 116-109. The win is LMC's 15th of the season making its record 15-7 overall and 9-4 in league play.
Despite shooting 61.3 percent from the field, the Bobcats found themselves facing a deficit after 20 minutes of action. The Crusaders connected on 10 three-pointers in the first half and converted on 7-of-8 from the free throw line to open a 61-50 lead on Lees-McRae. Another major key to the Crusaders' halftime advantage was their ability to turn eight Bobcat turnovers into 16 points in the first.
The Bobcats made some defensive adjustments during the intermission to allow them to get back into the game. LMC went on a 19-7 run in the opening minutes of the second half to erase the 11-point deficit in a hurry. The run by the Bobcats actually gave the team its first lead since the early stages of the game in the second half. Belmont Abbey and Lees-McRae exchanged leads until the final seconds. Jason Saintizaire got a key steal to tie the score at 101. Both squads had an opportunity to win the game but both came up short forcing an overtime period.
Lees-McRae continued to put the clamps down on the Crusader offense in the overtime period. BAC was limited to eight points, while the Bobcats nearly doubled that output with 15 to finish off their second overtime victory in the past six days, 116-109.
Kamil Williams had a career night against the Crusaders with 37 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including a 9-of-14 shooting from three-point range. Lepreece Lynch (17 points), Saintizaire (16 points) and Donte Falls (15 points) also finished in double figures to lead Lees-McRae. With his 17 points on the night, Lynch joined the program's 1,000 point club. Lynch joins a group of only eight Bobcat basketball players to ever score 1,000 points in their career at Lees-McRae.
The Bobcats travel to Erskine on Saturday in search of their fourth straight win. If the Bobcats can defeat the Flying Fleet, which they did earlier this season by a score of 91-81, it will match the program's record for the most wins in a single season with 16. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.