Photo Courtesy of Jacob Turner
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball kept its magical season rolling Tuesday night as the Bobcats knocked off seventh-seeded Erskine in the opening round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament. The win not only propels the Bobcats to the next round but also with King's loss tonight against Belmont Abbey, it makes Lees-McRae the host for the semifinals and finals of the tournament this Saturday and Sunday.
Erskine jumped on Lees-McRae early in Tuesday's contest as the Flying Fleet led by seven (13-6) about three minutes into the game. However, the Bobcats quickly regrouped to pull in front around the midway point of the first half. After they tied the score, the Bobcats quickly extended their lead to double figures heading into the break, 45-35.
In the final half of the contest, it seemed like whenever Erskine was about to mount a serious rally against LMC the Bobcats would answer and dart back out by double figures. A major reason for this was the long-distance shooting as the team hit eight three-pointers in the final 20 minutes. Leading this charge was Jordan Turner who scored a team-high 11 points. The long distance shooting was enough for the Bobcats to keep Erskine out of reach eventually as Lees-McRae eventually won the game, 86-78.
Much like they did several times this season, a key for the Bobcats was balanced scoring as five different players finished in double figures. Turner led LMC with 20 points, while Jason Saintizaire was not far behind with 16 points. Rounding out the double figure scorers were Josh Gaither (12), Quay Kimble (11) and Kamil Williams (11).
Lees-McRae, now 21-8 on the season, will now turn its attention to third-seeded Barton in the semifinal round Saturday at Williams Gymnasium. The two teams split the two meetings this season with each team winning on their home floor. Tip-off for that game is set for 4 p.m.