January 21, 2012

Bobcats edge Cobras in overtime thriller, 72-68

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Sophomore DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) poured in a game- and career-high 15 points to lead the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team to a 72-68 overtime win over Coker College in Conference Carolinas play on Saturday evening in Williams Gymnasium.

Lees-McRae (5-11, 5-3 CC) shot 49.1 percent on the night, including a 53.8 percent clip in the second half, while holding Coker (7-9, 1-6 CC) to a field goal percentage of 35.5 percent. Coker won the battle on the glass by a 41-34 margin, including an 18-10 advantage on the offensive boards, as Lees-McRae converted 14 Cobra turnovers into 20 points.

Tillman knocked down 6-of-9 attempts from the floor to pace the Bobcats with a game-high 15 points, while Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) added a double-double with 14 markers and a contest-best 11 rebounds. Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) and BJ Battle (Orlando, Fla.) chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively, while Sepokas and Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) each dished out a game-high five assists.

Bryce Arnott led the way for Coker with 14 points, while Julian Nelson and Charles West added 13 and 10 markers, respectively. Nelson chipped in a game-high five assists, while Sharod Williams posted seven points and a contest-best 11 rebounds.

The Bobcats jumped out an early 11-0 lead in the first half following an electrifying alley-oop dunk by Battle off a perfect lob pass from Lamot at the 15:34 mark. After Coker cut the lead to 11-5 on a three-pointer and subsequent layup by Arnott, the Bobcats answered with a 6-2 spurt to claim a 17-7 advantage on a triple by DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.) with 13:24 left in the half.

Coker countered with a 9-5 run, cutting the margin to 22-16 on a lay-in by Williams at the 7:24 mark. Lees-McRae would push the lead back to 31-21 with a 9-5 spurt of its own before the Cobras answered, evening the tally with a 10-0 surge over the final four and a half minutes of the half, which was capped by a triple from Charles West at the 1:57 mark.

The teams would exchange baskets over the first seven minutes of the second half, with the Bobcats snatching a 42-41 lead on a three-pointer by Corey Young (Bluff City, Tenn.) at the 12:55 mark. Coker would answer with a 13-5 run over the next six and a half minutes, taking a 54-47 lead on a Nelson jumper with 6:18 to play.

Coker stretched the lead to 60-50 on a layup by Austin Harper at the 3:47 mark before the Bobcats responded, closing out the half with a 14-4 run to send the game into overtime thanks to a last-second three-pointer from Brown.

The Bobcats carried the momentum into overtime, claiming a 70-65 advantage on a clutch jumper by Gideon Oji (Imane in Kogi, Nigeria) and a pair of free throws by Will Lopez (Sydney, Australia) with 1:26 to play in the extra period. Coker then cut the lead to 70-68 with 48 seconds left, trimming the margin to two on a three-pointer by Jonathan Gardner before a pair of last-second freebies by Tillman sealed the 72-68 win for the Bobcats.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Tuesday when the Bobcats host Barber-Scotia College at 7:30 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium. The Bobcats will also host Coaches vs. Cancer night on Tuesday, as head coach Scott Polsgrove and his staff will wear sneakers with their suits as part of the "Suits and Sneakers" campaign.

- LMC -