CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team bounced back after its first loss of the season last night with an 85-80 victory over Tusculum University Sunday evening in Charlotte. The victory improves Lees-McRae's record to 3-1 on the season.
The Bobcats began Sunday's matchup with the Pioneers on a high note. Lees-McRae scored 16 of the first 20 points of the game and led 16-7 at the under-12 minute media timeout. LMC kept the pressure on the Pioneers for the rest of the first half and took a 43-31 lead into the locker room for halftime. A big reason for LMC's lead at the break was its success at the free throw line. Overall, the Bobcats went an impressive 15-for-17 on free throws to help build that 12-point lead on Tusculum.
When the two teams returned to the court for the second half it looked like the Bobcats could run away with it as they grew their lead to as many as 16 points. However, Tusculum battled back to get within one possession on several occasions in the closing minutes of regulation. The last of those occurrences made it 82-80 Lees-McRae with five seconds to go. The Bobcats broke the press, however, and made a layup to go and made another free throw to seal the 85-80 victory.
Four different Bobcats finished with double figures against Tusculum. Andrew Gardner led the charge with a season-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. Jason Saintizaire added 14 points off the bench, while the duo of Kamil Williams contributed 13 points and Anthony Hicks chipped in 10.
Lees-McRae will return to action next Saturday when it visits Mars Hill in another non-conference matchup. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. for that contest between the Bobcats and Lions.