Bobcats out-rebound Mountaineers in exhibition opener

BOONE, N.C. --- Senior Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) poured in a team-high 13 points, and the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team edged NCAA Division I Appalachian State University by a 45-44 margin on the glass in an exhibition game on Friday evening in the Holmes Center.

Appalachian State held a 76-55 lead when the final buzzer sounded, shooting 37.3 percent from the field while holding Lees-McRae to a field goal percentage of 31.3 percent. The Mountaineers outscored the Bobcats by a narrow 30-26 margin in the paint while converting 21 Lees-McRae miscues into 15 points. Lees-McRae won the battle on the glass by a slim 45-44 margin in the contest, including a 22-17 advantage on the offensive boards.

Sepokas paced the Bobcats with 13 points, going 4-for-5 from the charity stripe, as DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) added seven rebounds. DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.) knocked down a pair of three-pointers to add eight markers, while Gideon Oji (Imane in Koji, Nigeria) and James Saint Marc (Tampa, Fla.) chipped in seven and six points, respectively.

Tab Hamilton led the way for ASU with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting, as Jay Canty nearly recorded a double-double with 15 points and a contest-best nine rebounds. Nathan Healy added 13 points and a game-high three steals, while Tevin Baskin went 9-for-10 from the free throw line to add 11 markers.

The Bobcats stayed within striking distance for much of the first half, cutting the ASU lead to 17-11 on a Sepokas triple with 9:03 to play before the Mountaineers closed out the half on an 11-4 run to take a 32-17 advantage into the break.

Appalachian State would come out of the intermission on a 17-6 run, pushing the margin to 49-23 on a fast-break slam by Hamilton before Lees-McRae responded, closing the gap to 56-39 following a jumper by Chad Eppley (Boone, N.C.) at the 8:43 mark. The Mountaineers countered with a 14-4 surge, opening a 70-43 lead on a lay-in by Chris Burgess with 5:15 to go.

The Bobcats would finish strong, closing out the night with a 12-6 run over the final five minutes to cut the lead to 76-55 following a key three-point play by Sepokas with two minutes to play.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday, November 10 when the Bobcats host Johnson C. Smith in their home and season opener in Williams Gymnasium at 6 p.m.

- LMC -