Late Surge Carries Lees-McRae Past Trojans

Late Surge Carries Lees-McRae Past Trojans

BANNER ELK, N.C. – Despite a season-high 34 points from guard Gage Ellis, the Anderson men's basketball team wrapped up its nonconference slate with a 105-99 setback to Lees-McRae, Saturday night at Williams Gymnasium.  

Anderson (4-9), which was coming off a layoff of nearly two weeks, saw its win streak halted at two games, while Lees-McRae (7-4) won its fifth decision in six outings.

Ellis led all scorers with his season-high effort, while netting 26 points in the first half and connecting on 12-of-17 from the field on the night. The junior from Greenville, S.C., was also 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Senior center Rakish Taylor dropped in a season-high 15 points, including 12 in the second half, and pulled down six rebounds.

Senior guard Maurice Howard added 13 points and a team-high four assists, with freshman Josh Livingston posting 11 points and five rebounds despite being saddled with early foul trouble. Junior forward Jeremy Bouton recorded nine points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes of action. 
First Half
The score was tied seven times and the lead changed hands on eight occasions in the first frame. Trailing by three in the opening minute of the contest, Ellis fueled a 10-2 scoring outburst over a two-minute span that gave the Trojans a 12-7 lead with 17:24 on the clock.    
But the Bobcats countered with an 11-2 run of their own to regain a brief advantage before Ellis dropped in a layup to knot the score for the second time of the contest, at 18 apiece.

The score was deadlocked two more times over the next two minutes before Lees-McRae overcame a 26-23 Trojan lead to build a five-point advantage on three occasions before Ellis and junior Andrew Boynton connected on back-to-back jumpers to tie the score at 39-39 with less than six minutes remaining in the half.
The Bobcats were unable to build more than a four-point lead over the final 4:21, but AU couldn't regain the advantage in the high-scoring first half until Ellis connected on a jumper with 48 seconds on the clock (52-51). But the Bobcats sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a pair of free throws to take a 57-54 edge to the break.

Second Half
AU scored 10 unanswered points in a three-minute span to turn a five-point deficit into a 72-67 lead at the 13:11 mark of the second half. The Trojans steadily built the lead to eight and took an 84-76 edge on a 3-pointer by Livingston with 8:19 remaining.

The Trojans still led, 93-86, with more than three minutes on the clock, but went cold and were just 1-for-5 from the field and 4-for-6 from the charity stripe inside the final 3:05, enabling the Bobcats to close the contest on a 19-6 run.   

The 99 points scored marked a season-high for the Trojans.

• AU pulled down 10 offensive rebounds – marking the third time this season the Trojans have recorded double-digit offensive boards.
• The Trojans forced 19 turnovers, which was eclipsed only by the 20 turnovers forced in the loss to Queens.
• AU converted the 19 turnovers into 28 points. 
• Lees-McRae entered the game leading Conference Carolinas by averaging 88.7 points per game.
• The Bobcats were surrendering nearly 87 points per game. 
• LMC also leads Conference Carolinas in 3-point field goal accuracy (40.7%) and blistered the nets for 55.2 percent accuracy (16-of-29) from long range tonight.
• The Trojans had four players foul out of the contest – the most in a game this season.
• Lees-McRae edged the Trojans, 32-31, in the rebounding battle.
• AU outscored the Bobcats, 42-26, in the paint.

The Trojans will wrap up their three-game road swing by traveling to nationally-ranked Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday. Tip-off versus the Railsplitters is slated for 8 p.m. in Harrogate, Tenn.