Photo courtesy of Matt Jones
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team withstood a late charge from Erskine College Wednesday night at Williams Gymnasium to come out victorious in its regular season home finale, 86-82. The victory pushes Lees-McRae's record to 11-16 overall and 7-10 within Conference Carolinas action.
The Bobcats used 13 three-pointers in the first half to open a sizable lead on the Flying Fleet. Erskine, meanwhile, struggled offensively with the exception of big man Austin Venable. Venable scored 20 points in the first 20 minutes alone. However, Venable's work did not put much of dent in Lees-McRae's advantage as it led the Flying Fleet 49-31 going to the halftime break.
Facing a double-digit deficit, the Flying Fleet definitely never gave up. Erskine clamped down on Lees-McRae's offense holding it to 33.3 percent shooting from the field, while upping its field goal percentage to over 50 percent (52.8) in the second half. Erskine trimmed the Bobcat lead all the way down to two points with 42 seconds to go in regulation. However, four clutch free throw by Jerick Haynes and Andrew Gardner kept the Bobcats in front and able to finish off the 86-82 victory.
Four Bobcats finished the night in double figures on the night. Quay Kimble stuffed the stat sheet scoring 16 points to along with eight assists and six rebounds. Gardner and Haynes finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Anthony Hicks chipped in 11 with a team-high eight rebounds. As a team, the Bobcats had good night from long distance connecting on 17 three-pointers, and on the offensive glass grabbing 17 offensive rebounds in the tilt.
The Bobcats will close out their regular season on Saturday with a trip to Belmont Abbey College. The Crusaders topped Lees-McRae, 83-75, earlier this season in Banner Elk. Tip-off for Saturday's game is set for 7:30 p.m.