Photo Courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team will be back in action with a pair of games this week. First, the Bobcats will travel to Carson-Newman Wednesday night before hosting Tusculum Saturday afternoon in their home opener. Tip-off times for this week's games are set for 7 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
Last Time Out – Lees-McRae opened its 2018-19 season last weekend with a pair of non-conference games against Columbus State and Flagler in Bristol. The Bobcats fell Friday to CSU by a score of 91-84 before dropping an 81-68 decision to FC on Saturday.
Debut Notes – Overall, 11 different Lees-McRae players made their Bobcat debuts over the weekend. The trio of Jerick Haynes, Wes Morgan and Andrew Gardner all played over 40 minutes over the two game stretch, while fellow newcomers Anthony Hicks, London England, Kerry Richardson and Jonathan Webb all logged over 20 minutes of action.
Freshman Fitting In – Probably the best performance from the Bobcat newcomers last weekend came from Gardner. The freshman forward from Myrtle Beach, S.C. led the team scoring a total 28 points against CSU and FC. Gardner also finished second on the team with nine rebounds on the weekend as well.
Getting Second Chances – A statistical strength for the Bobcats from the first weekend was their work on the offensive glass. On the weekend Lees-McRae totaled 26 offensive rebounds, which currently ranks second among Conference Carolinas teams. Keith Shelton led these efforts snagging four offensive rebounds, while Hicks, Quay Kimble and Malik Wright each grabbed three.
About the Opponents – Last season Carson-Newman joined the Bobcats in the NCAA Tournament field with a 23-8 overall record. The 2018-19 Eagles are off to a 2-0 start this season after a 17-point win at Southern Wesleyan and a 12-point victory against Lander in a neutral site contest.
Tusculum, meanwhile, is under new direction this season as J.T. Burton takes over the program. Burton is still looking for his first win as the Pioneers' Head Coach after his squad fell to USC Aiken (83-66) and Clayton State (77-73) last weekend.
Series Histories vs. Opponents – There is no shortage of history between the Bobcats, Tusculum and Carson-Newman. LMC is 0-7 all-time against C-N with the last meeting in the series occurring in 2013. As for Tusculum, the Bobcats are 3-7 against the Pioneers since 2007. One of those victories came last season when Lees-McRae scored a program record 119 points in 33-point win.