Laurinburg, NC--In their first contest of the new year the youthful Bobcats fell short of adding one to the win column, losing to host school St. Andrews Presbyterian College 70-61 in Conference Carolinas action. The Knights improve thier record to 2-8 (1-2 conference), while the Bobcats fall to 2-8 (1-3 conference).
With five freshman starting the game, Lees-McRae battled with the Knights exchanging the lead six times with their conference opponent in the first fifteen minutes of the game. With five minutes to go the Knights went up 20-19, then proceeded to go on a 11-4 run to take a 31-23 lead into halftime.
In the first half St. Andrews shot 56%, while the Bobcats was held to 42.9% from the field and committed 14 turnovers.
After the halftime break, St. Andrews continued their momentum from the last minutes of the first half, building a 21 point lead (50-29) on a 19-6 run. However, the Bobcats continued to claw their way back into the game, returning the favor with a 19-4 run of their own to pull back within six (54-48) at the 8:11 mark.
In a valiant effort to the end the Bobcats managed to get the score to within six four times during the second period including at the 1:36 mark. However, the Knights hit 6-8 from the line to seal the nine point victory 70-61.
Lees-McRae was led by the Kingsport, TN native, freshman Aaron Willey's 12 points (4-4) and five boards. Teammate Raysean Hairston (Elizabethtown, NC) with ten points was the only other Bobcat to score in double figures in the contest.
For the Knights it was junior point guard Charles Phillips (Decatur, GA) setting the pace with 20 points and six steals. Junior Joseph Gripper (Charlotte, NC) and senior Marcus Hoke (Charlotte, NC) scored 12 and 11 points respectively.
The Bobcats return to Banner Elk to host Conference Carolinas opponent Queens University at 7:30pm on Wednesday, January 9th.