BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Lees-McRae's senior class combined for 53 points while the men's basketball team made history by claiming their school-record 14th win in 86-78 fashion against Conference Carolinas foe Emmanuel (Ga.) Tuesday evening at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Bobcats (14-10, 9-8 CC) set the single-season record with suffocating defense while holding the EC to 35.1% from the floor. The Lions (14-9, 10-6) were the runner up in the NAIA National Tournament last season.
The Lions' Patrick McCrary got rolling early with a five-point spurt, giving EC a 14-5 lead after 5:40 of action.
Deniton sliced his way to two layups to shave the deficit to two, 19-17.
EC's Michael Stanley hit a pair of free throws at the 3:39 mark, but consecutive threes from Moore and Deniton jumpstarted a 13-5 run.
Tutton and Deniton scored on layups in the final 15 seconds of the first half while LMC held a slim 34-33 advantage at the break.
Coach Steve Hardin's squad hosted a block party in the first 20 minutes by swatting nine shots, powered by sophomore Donte Falls (Shelby, N.C.), who had three.
The Bobcats hit five free throws, with a Darius Malbon (Hickory, N.C.) triple thrown in the mix to take a 56-50 lead.
LMC hit 25-of-30 free throws in the second half.
Sophomore Josh Gaither (Statesville, N.C.) ripped net on a crucial three before a Deniton layup gave the Bobcats their largest lead of the game, 61-53.
Steven Guinchard caught fire with six quick points to cut the deficit to three, 71-68.
EC's Guinchard finished with a game-high 17 points.
The Lions would get as close as 77-76, however, the Bobcats clamped down and finished the game on a 10-1 run to earn the historic win.
Malbon put an exclamation point on the victory with a dunk with 27 second remaining.
The Bobcats shot a staggering 52.2% in the second half.
Hardin's squad welcomes North Greenville Saturday, Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. for Senior Day at Williams Gymnasium. Moore, Tutton and Deniton will be honored prior to the contest.
- LMC -