NEWBERRY, S.C. – Virginia State University shot 53 percent from the field and held the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team to a 38 percent from the field on its way to a 94-79 win over the Bobcats Friday night in Newberry, S.C. The loss drops LMC's record to 1-2 on the season.
Over the first eight minutes of action, the Bobcats traded baskets with the Trojans. After a layup by Rishad Felton with 12:45 to go in the first half, the Bobcat offense went cold from the field. Lees-McRae went nearly eight minutes before its next field goal. Lepreece Lynch broke the cold spell with a basket with 4:57 remaining in the half.
The Bobcats, however, were able to remain within striking distance of the Trojans because of their work from the free throw line. As a team, Lees-McRae made 12-of-14 of its free throw tries in the first 20 minutes. Despite the shooting from the charity stripe, the Bobcats struggled slowing down Virginia State's offense as they shot 61 percent as a team in the first half on its way to a 51-38 halftime lead.
Virginia State's defense really stiffened in the second half. The Trojan defense held the Bobcats 33 percent shooting from the field. With the stellar defense, VSU was able to extend its lead to as many as 27 points before settling for the 15-point victory, 94-79.
The trio of Jason Saintizaire, Jordan Turner and Lynch led the Bobcats in scoring Friday night. Saintizaire led all LMC scorers with 19 points, while Turner and Lynch both chipped in 16 points. It marks the second time in three games that Saintizaire has led LMC in scoring.
A large part of the Bobcat offense was their work from the free throw line. LMC made 29 free throws, which is the most for the program since Feb. 6, 2016 against Barton when it made 33. Lynch led these efforts going a perfect 10-for-10, while Donte Falls also had a perfect night shooting from the line coming in at 6-for-6. With his six made free throws, Falls is now ninth all-time in program history with 172 made free throws.
With the loss Friday, the Bobcats will return to action at noon Saturday in the consolation game of the Newberry Invitational. LMC will face the loser of the Voorhees College and Newberry College that will take place later this evening.