Pioneers edge Bobcats with late run, 70-63

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Tusculum College men's basketball team utilized a 15-6 run late in the second half, rallying from a five-point deficit to edge Lees-McRae College by a 70-63 margin in non-conference play on Wednesday evening in Williams Gymnasium.

Tusculum (2-7) shot an even 50 percent from the floor on the night, winning the battle on the glass by a 35-28 margin while holding Lees-McRae (0-10) to a field goal percentage of 40.7 percent. The Pioneer bench outscored Lees-McRae's reserves, 35-16, as Tusculum converted 13 Bobcat miscues into 16 points.

Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with 20 points with an 8-for-11 night from the floor, while going 4-for-4 from behind the arc. Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) added 13 points and team-highs of five rebounds and four assists, as DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) and Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) each chipped in a contest-best two blocks.

Addison Flynn led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, knocking down four three-pointers as Daniel O'Conner and Neal Spinks added 12 and 11 markers, respectively. O'Conner chipped in a game-high eight rebounds, while Nick Spinks dished out a contest-best five assists.

Tusculum opened the game on an 8-3 run before the Bobcats responded, claiming a 13-8 advantage when Lamot knocked down a triple with 14:40 left in the half to cap a 10-0 spurt. The Pioneers countered with a 17-4 surge, taking a 25-17 lead following a Flynn jumper at the 8:05 mark.

The Bobcats fought back, evening the tally at 32-32 with just under four minutes to go on Lamot's fourth trifecta of the night which capped a 15-7 run. Tusculum would answer with a 6-2 spurt, heading into the intermission with a 38-34 advantage following a late jumper by O'Conner.

Lees-McRae responded in the second half, opening the period with a 10-3 run to take a 44-41 lead following a Tillman lay-in after a Sepokas steal with 16:26 to go. After Tusculum countered with a 5-2 spurt to even the tally at 46-46, Lees-McRae answered with a 10-5 run to open a 56-51 advantage following a layup and a triple by DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.) with 10:24 left on the clock.

Tusculum would respond with a 15-6 spurt of its own, claiming a 66-62 lead with 1:06 remaining on an emphatic put-back dunk by JD Miller to cap the run. The Pioneers held on from there, closing out the win going 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final moments of the game.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats host Mount Olive College to resume their Conference Carolinas schedule at 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -