BANNER ELK, NC--In a game that featured eleven lead changes and seven ties, the Lees-McRae College Bobcats came out on the wrong side of a 66-64 contest with the visiting Anderson University Trojans in Conference Carolinas men's basketball action Thursday evening at Williams Gymnasium. The Bobcats fall to 3-15 (2-10 Conference Carolinas) while the Trojans move to 8-10 (6-6).
The teams traded the lead five times in the first four and a half minutes, neither going up by more than three. With the score 11-10, the visitors would gain a short lived five point lead with a pair of Kevis Cronwell (York, SC) free throws a Brandon Young (Belmont, NC) field goal only to see the Bobcats claw their way back to knot the score at 15 for the game's first tie. After trading the lead three times and trio of ties, the Bobcats pulled ahead 30-27 with 4:38 to play. The home side would close out the half with a 10-4 run, taking a nine point cushion into recess.
The Bobcats and Trojans continued to battle basket-for-basket as they had for much of the first to start the second half. Lees-McRae would manage at least a six point lead, from the opening whistle, taking the game's largest lead of 11, 53-42 with 8:09 remaining. A Brandon Young three pointer would ignite a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to six for the visitors, however Raysean Hairston (Elizabethtown, NC) would stop the bleeding with a mid range jumper to make the count 57-49. The Trojans' Kris Fudzinskas (Vilnius, Lithuania) would drive hard to the lane for a layup, drawing the foul and completing the three point play to pull his team to within five.
The Trojans would give the game its fifth and sixth ties at 57 and 59 with field goals from Young and Cornwell field goals and just over two minutes to play. With three more lead changes, the Trojans would go up 63-62 and 1:02 on the clock. Hairston would split a pair of attempts from the charity strip to knot things at 63 with 0:46 to play. With possession, the Trojans would kill as much clock as possible, draining a field goal with 15 seconds to play. Bobcats senior guard Mario McClunie (Knoxville, TN) took the ball hard to the basket, picking up a foul and splitting his attempts to make the score 65-64. With nine seconds remaining the Bobcats were forced to foul, sending Cornwell to the charity stripe with seven ticks on the clock. After splitting his attempts from the free throw line, the Trojans managed to hold on, escaping with an important conference road win.
The Trojans had four players scoring in double figures with Young leading the way netting a game high 23. Cornwell added eleven while Kudzinskas and Stephen Cobb (Raleigh, NC) chipped in ten each. All but two Bobcats who took the court hit the score sheet with freshman Hairston and Nick DeSchepper (Fishers, IN) scoring in double figures with 19 and 16 respectively.
"We had a great effort tonight, for the most part played a full forty minutes which I am very proud of," stated Head Coach Scott Polsgrove. "It's great to see; our young players are making plays, and we've been playing a much better team game as of late, competing on a more consistent basis. However we've got to finish. That'll come with experience, and we're certainly gaining a great deal right now."
The Bobcats, carrying ten freshman on their roster and starting
four, will look to continue their solid play in Conference
Carolinas action Saturday afternoon at Williams Gymnasium. St.
Andrew's Presbyterian provides the opposition, with tipoff
scheduled for 4:00pm.
PICTURED: Raysean Hairston