MARS HILL, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team withstood a late charge from Mars Hill University and came out on top with a 107-95 victory on Saturday afternoon. The win, which is the team's second straight, improves Lees-McRae's record to 4-1 on the season.
The opening half of Saturday's game began well for the Lions as they knocked down a pair of threes to stake themselves to an early lead. However, the Lion offense soon ran cold as they did not score a point for nearly five minutes of game action. Lees-McRae took full advantage of the cold-shooting Lions and built a 24-point lead over Mars Hill at one point thanks to pressure defense and points in transition. The Lions were able to close the gap a little in the final minutes of the first half but the Bobcats still held a 19-point lead, 54-35, heading to the halftime break.
Despite facing a sizeable deficit, the Lions did not go away in the second half. After scoring 35 points in the first 20 minutes of action, Mars Hill rebounded to net 60 points in the second half. Thanks to rejuvenated offense, the Lions were able to cut the Bobcat lead down to single digits on a couple different occasions with the last coming with 2:21 to go. Despite a stellar effort from Mars Hill, the Bobcats went 5-for-6 from the free throw line and a perfect 3-for-3 from the field after that point to finish off the 107-95 victory.
Several Bobcats had stellar offensive days to fuel the 107-point effort. Andrew Gardner led the way with 23 points and seven rebounds on an efficient 9-for-14 day from the field. Quay Kimble (18 points), Jason Saintizaire (15 points) and Kamil Williams (10 points) all started the game and finished in double figures, while the tandem of Jerick Haynes (18 points) and London England (13 points) provided scoring off the bench finishing in double figures as well.
Lees-McRae will be back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Eastern Nazarene at Williams Gymnasium. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 4 p.m.