Photo Courtesy of Dakota Hamilton
BRISTOL, Tenn. – King (TN) University trailed for over half the game against the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team Friday night, but it came back to defeat the Bobcats 88-81 after outscoring LMC 56-43 in the second half. The loss moves LMC's record to 8-20 overall and 7-13 in conference play to wrap up the regular season.
Lees-McRae started out firing on all cylinders as it built 17-point lead on the Tornado, 30-13, with 7:55 to go in the first half. LMC's key to building that large lead was balanced scoring and its effort on the boards. The Bobcats had five different players score at least five points in the opening half and they out-rebounded the Tornado by a 30-19 margin. Despite the difference in rebounding, King clawed back into the game to get within six points, 38-32, going into halftime. The Tornado made it a point to get to the free throw line in the final seven minutes as they ended up going 10-13 from the charity stripe compared to a 2-for-3 mark for LMC in the first half.
King continued its comeback bid when play resumed in the second half. The Tornado took their first lead since the opening minute with 12:23 to go in regulation, 52-49. LMC continued to hang around until a 13-2 run by King turned a 62-60 lead into a 75-62 advantage. Despite the 13-point deficit, the Bobcats came all the way back to make it a one possession game with just under one minute remaining, 84-81. King, however, made four critical free throws down the stretch to finish off the 88-81 win.
Four Bobcats finished in double figures on Friday. Donte Falls led all scorers with 19 points and he added a team-high nine rebounds. Jordan Turner (15 points), Chad Hicks (14 points) and Rishad Felton (12 points) also finished in double figures for LMC.
With the loss and the other results around the league, the Bobcats will be the No. 7 seed in the Conference Carolinas Tournament. The tournament will begin Tuesday with the quarterfinal round at the top four seeds' home courts. In their quarterfinal matchup, the Bobcats will travel to No. 2 seed Limestone. The Saints won both matchups between the two teams this season by scores of 94-77 and 75-73. The tip-off time for Tuesday's game is set for 7 p.m. from Gaffney, S.C.