Anderson Downs Lenoir-Rhyne Behind Shugart's 23January 4, 2012
HICKORY, N.C. – Senior center Taylor Shugart’s season-high 23 points lifted Anderson to a 75-72 win past Lenoir-Rhyne as the Trojans began a three-game South Atlantic Conference road trip by holding off a late charge Wednesday night at Shuford Gymnasium.
Anderson (8-3, 3-0 SAC) stayed undefeated in league action, while earning its fifth win in the last six outings and handed Lenoir-Rhyne (4-8, 0-3 SAC) its third consecutive setback.
Anderson scored the first eight points of the game and never trailed as the Trojans steadily built their largest lead of the contest, 27-11, with 6:42 left in the first half, as Shuart, guard Nick Trull and Jo’el Lamb combined for 21 points. But the Bears chipped away, trimming the AU lead to five on two occasions in the final two minutes and setting the halftime score at 38-34 on a jumper from Bryce Hawkins at the buzzer.
The Trojans maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half, with Shugart’s short jumper with 4:04 left in the game gave the Trojans a 71-60 lead, but Lenoir-Rhyne responded with eight unanswered points to trim Anderson’s lead to just three with more than two minutes remaining in the contest. A layup by AU senior Tyrell McDowell slowed the Bears’ rally, but L-R kept pace on Denzel Dillingham’s layup with 1:45 on the clock.
The Trojans committed a turnover on their next possession and misfired on two free throws inside the final 41 seconds but Lenoir-Rhyne was unable to capitalize, missing a pair of shots on its end of the court, until freshman guard A.J. McKenzie dropped in a layup with just seconds remaining to pull within 73-72..
Lenoir-Rhyne immediately called a 30-second timeout and McKenzie fouled AU guard Denzail Jones with five seconds on the clock. Jones, who had missed his only free throw attempt earlier in the contest, stepped to the line and sank both free throws to set the final margin, as the Bears missed their shot at the buzzer.
Shugart led all scorers with his 23 points, which was just a point shy of his career high, set at Lenoir-Rhyne last season. The Rock Hill, S.C., native narrowly missed his first double-double of the season, recording a game-high nine rebounds, while also swiping a pair of steals. Sophomore guard Chandler Hash added 15 points and senior guard Nick Trull netted 13 points.
Hunter McClintock posted a team-best 21 points for Lenoir-Rhyne, with Dillingham chipping in 12 points and B.J. Beasley scoring 10.
Anderson continues the road swing at Catawba on Saturday, Tip-off versus the Indians is slated for 4 p.m. in Salisbury, N.C.