BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Senior Raul Tutton paced the team with 14 points while the Lees-McRae men's basketball team dropped an intense Conference Carolinas battle to King (Tenn.), 82-76, Tuesday evening at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Tornado (18-4, 12-2 CC) overcame 21 turnovers and used a 21-point effort from Hunter LeVeau to sneak out a W. The Bobcats (12-10, 7-8) matched King blow for blow while senior Sean Deniton (Durham, N.C.) hit clutch threes in the waning moments to keep the contest tight.
A trio of Bobcats had six rebounds while senior Jacquise Moore (Concord, N.C.) led both teams with six assists.
Sophomore Darius Malbon (Hickory, N.C.) got the high-intensity, fast-paced contest off on the right foot with a triple before scoring on a layup minutes later.
Junior Cameron Redd (Garner, N.C.) connected on a pair of jumpers while Coach Steve Hardin's squad held a 17-13 lead at the 11:27 mark.
The Tornado responded with a pair of triples from Mikquell Jackson to grab a 29-24 advantage.
Both teams would exchange buckets for a majority of the remainder of the first half while LMC used a 7-2 run over the final 2:49 to enter the break trailing by one, 36-35.
KU's Logan Lyle and LeVeau scored KU's first 10 points of the second half while a James Scales layup put the visitors up eight, 52-44.
Scales would tally four consecutive points while the Tornado stretched their lead to 15, 64-49.
The Bobcats would mount a comeback in front of a raucous crowd while holding King to two field goals over a span of 4:55.
Tutton (Memphis, Tenn.) sparked the offense with a strong bucket and-one before sophomore Josh Gaither (Statesville, N.C.) and Deniton ripped net from behind the arc to cut the deficit to four, 70-66.
Tutton took advantage of a Rishad Felton (Hendersonville, N.C.) steal by throwing down a monster dunk.
Lyle connected on a three with 2:18 remaining to give the visitors a 77-74 lead.
Moore calmly sank a pair of free throws with 44 ticks on the clock, but the Tornado would stave off the rally with clutch free throw shooting down the stretch.
Nine Bobcats amassed 16 minutes or more of playing time. Sophomore Donte Falls (Shelby, N.C.) amassed 12 points.
LMC travels to Due West, S.C. to battle Erskine Saturday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m.
- LMC -