BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae men's basketball jumped out to an early 55-42 lead, but was unable to sustain it thanks to a hot-shooting North Greenville squad while NGU claimed a 105-95 victory in Conference Carolinas play Saturday evening at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Crusaders (10-7, 5-2 CC) climbed out of a 16-point hole with 15 minutes remaining thanks to an outstanding effort from Phillip Brown (37 points, 17 rebounds) while winning their third consecutive game. The Bobcats (6-10, 1-5) dropped their fifth in a row despite another impressive game from freshman Mike Chambers (Winston-Salem, N.C.) (25 points, 7 boards).
LMC sprinted out to a 31-23 lead after a Chad Hicks (Winston-Salem, N.C.) layup and Jacquise Moore (Concord, N.C.) connected on a thunderous dunk at the 8:19 mark in part of a 7-0 LMC run.
A Chambers jumper and a pair of Chase Arnold (Kingsport, Tenn.) free-throws gave the Bobcats the 13-point advantage going into intermission.
LMC scored 17 points off of turnovers in the first 20 minutes while shooting a 46.8 clip.
Moore converted an and-one to stretch the LMC lead to 16, 70-54, with 15:05 remaining.
The Crusaders stormed back with authority after Keith Johnson capped off a 31-6 run with a layup at the 3:45 mark.
LMC made things interesting when it cut the lead to six, 101-95, after a Rishad Felton (Hendersonville, N.C.) three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining.
However, NGU drained four free-throws to seal the win.
Brown dominated by knocking down 14-of-21 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. NGU shot 61.3% in the second half and converted 23-of-26 free-throws.
Johnson finished with 22 points while Chris Dean chipped in with 18 and nine rebounds.
LMC struggled at the line (11-20) while Moore finished with 19 points. The Bobcats owned the offensive glass, 17-9.
Coach Steve Hardin's squad returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when it visits Mount Olive in Mount Olive, N.C.