Photo Courtesy of Matt Jones
CENTRAL, S.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team outlasted Southern Wesleyan University in overtime Monday night, 82-78. The victory, which is the team's third straight, improves Lees-McRae's record to 8-13 overall and 5-7 in league play.
The first half Monday night was a closely contested one. Lees-McRae took a 34-29 lead into halftime mainly due to its work on the glass. The Bobcats out-rebounded Southern Wesleyan 22-14 in the first 20 minutes. Among those 22 rebounds for Lees-McRae, seven of them were offensive that lead to 10 second chance points that greatly helped the Bobcats go into the break up by five.
Southern Wesleyan never stopped coming at the Bobcats in the second half. On one occasion, Lees-McRae looked like it may run away from SWU as it took an eight point lead with seven minutes to go. Credit to the Warriors though, they kept chipping at Lees-McRae's lead until it ultimately tied the game at 66 with a three-pointer as time expired to force an overtime period.
Playing in its first overtime game of the season, the Bobcats performed well. Lees-McRae went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line to go along with a couple key three-pointers in the extra frame to clinch the four-point victory. The free throw shooting proved vital in the Bobcat victory as the team converted on 22 of 24 attempts from the line on the night.
Individually, the Bobcats had several standout outings. Jerick Haynes paced the Bobcats on the scoreboard netting 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. The duo of Quay Kimble and Andrew Gardner both added 16 points in the contest. Additionally, Kimble grabbed seven rebounds and Gardner snatched 10 of his own to aid in Lees-McRae's overall rebounding advantage in the game, 46-30. Finally, Kerry Richardson rounded out the double figure scorers with 10 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line.
Lees-McRae will look for its fourth straight victory Saturday when it visits North Greenville for another Conference Carolinas matchup. The Bobcats edged the Crusaders 81-78 earlier this season in Banner Elk. Tip-off time Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m.