MISENHEIMER, N.C. --- The senior class combined for 44 points, including a game-high 24 from Sean Deniton, but the No. 5 seed Lees-McRae men's basketball team fell short to No. 4 Pfeffier, 76-75, in heartbreaking fashion in a Conference Carolinas Quarterfinal at Merner Gym Saturday night in Misenheimer, N.C.
The Falcons (16-11) used a Mackly Bien-Aime free throw with 2.5 seconds remaining to eke out the win. The Bobcats (15-13) trailed by as many as 11 with 6:25 remaining before their valiant comeback fell short.
Coach Steve Hardin's squad produced a season for the history books while winning a school-record 15 games and senior Jacquise Moore (Concord, N.C.) led the nation in steals per game entering the contest.
LMC came out guns blazing and scurried out to an 8-0 lead after a triple from Deniton (Durham, N.C.) and five points from Moore in the first 1:21 of play.
Moore finished with 15 points in his final game as a Bobcat.
PU's Andrew Guerrero provided a much-needed spark off the bench while he dropped eight of the Falcons' first 12 points, before six consecutive points from Keith Jumper cut the deficit to three, 21-18.
Both squads continued their persistent shooting from three-point land while LMC's Jonathan Honore (Baton Rouge, La.) and Keegan Crabtree (Hillsborough, N.C.) ripped net, pushing the Bobcat lead to seven.
PU's Guerrero and AJ Clark responded with triples of their own to make it a one-point game, 33-32.
Guerrero finished with 21 points, including 15 from behind the arc.
Deniton connected on a jumper with 1:52 on the clock in the first to conclude first half scoring.
The Falcons used a trio of threes to spark 16-6 run, giving them a 56-46 advantage with 8:07 left in regulation.
Donte Falls (Shelby, N.C.) knocked down his second three of the night while LMC responded with a 13-6 run, cutting the deficit to three, 62-59.
PU quickly pushed the lead back to eight, but clutch threes by Deniton and Kendall Isler (Winder, Ga.) made it a two-point game with less than a minute remaining.
Sophomore Josh Gaither (Statesville, N.C.) calmly tied the contest at 75 with a pair of free throw shots.
Bien-Aime appeared to have jelly legs as he hit the front end of the rim on his first free throw with 2.5 seconds on the clock.
Deniton led all players with eight rebounds.
- LMC -