Photo Courtesy of Sherri Gardner
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team fell to Johnson C. Smith University Thursday night on a last second shot at the buzzer, 70-68. The loss pushes LMC's record to 3-5 on the season.
The first half was a tightly contested one. Neither team could build up much of an advantage. LMC, which took a 37-35 lead into the locker room, held the largest lead of the half leading by as many as eight points three times. The Golden Bulls, however, would put together a string of buckets when they needed it. JCSU was able to battle to get score back to within one possession after 20 minutes of action.
When the teams came back to the court for the second half, neither squad seemed to get their respective offense clicking. JCSU and LMC both totaled just nine field goals made in the final 20 minutes. For both teams, it was the free throw line where the bulk of offense came from. For LMC it was Andrew Gardner going 6-for-7 at the line, while JCSU's Cayse Minor went 10-for-14 on free throws. With free throw battle in full swing, Johnson C. Smith and Lees-McRae were deadlocked at 68 with 24 seconds left. The Golden Bulls called a timeout but promptly turned the ball over to the Bobcats. LMC turned it over themselves to give JCSU a chance to win the game in the final seconds. The Golden Bulls did just that as Aaron Adair made a jumper as time expired to give his team the slim two-point victory.
LMC was led Thursday by Gardner who finished with a team-high 21 points to go along with a team-best six rebounds. The 21-point outing for Gardner is a new career-high for the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina native. In addition to Gardner, Jerick Haynes chipped in 13 points and Quay Kimble added 11 points to round out the double figure scorers for Lees-McRae.
Lees-McRae will be back in action Saturday when it visits Emmanuel in its first conference game of the season. LMC and EC are set to tip-off at 4 p.m. from Franklin Springs, Georgia.