Jones Leads Trojans Past Lenoir-Rhyne

Junior Guard Scores Career-High 31 Points

Box Score

ANDERSON, S.C. – Paced by junior guard Denzail Jones’ career-high 31 point effort, the Anderson men’s basketball team got back in the win column by outlasting South Atlantic Conference-foe Lenoir-Rhyne, 79-66, Wednesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.   

Anderson (15-4, 10-1 SAC) improved to 7-1 at home and maintained at least a one-game lead in the league standings, while claiming its 12th win in the last 14 games. Lenoir-Rhyne fell to 10-10 overall and 6-5 in the conference, while seeing its win streak halted at two.

Lenoir-Rhyne snapped the fifth tie of the night with eight unanswered points before AU sophomore guard Chandler Hash slowed the surge with a short jumper in the paint, cutting the deficit to 19-13 with 11:22 left in the first half.     

Trailing, 23-16, midway through the half, senior forward Tyrell McDowell and Jones sandwiched 3-pointers around a Lenoir-Rhyne free throw, pulling the Trojans within just two, but the Bears responded by edging out to their largest lead of the contest behind a 15-5 run which was capped by a rare four-point play by the Bears’ R.J. McClure that gave L-R a 39-27 cushion with less than three minutes left in the half.

The Trojans trimmed a 43-33 halftime deficit to six by scoring the first four points of the second stanza, but Lenoir-Rhyne quickly regained an 11-point lead at the 15:36 mark.

AU countered with a 14-2 run over the next five minutes, recapturing their first lead, 51-50, since the opening moments of the game, with seniors Nick Trull and Jo’el Lamb fueling the run with four points apiece.  

In a second half that featured nine lead changes and four ties, the Trojans closed the game with a 14-1 outburst over the final four-plus minutes to earn a season sweep of the Bears, with Jones snapping a 65-65 tie with 4:26 left by scoring four straight to ignite the final run. The junior from Tuscaloosa scored nine of AU’s last 14 points, with the Trojans connecting on 10 of 11 free throws during the outburst to hold off the Bears. 

Jones also recorded a career-best seven steals to go along with his scoring output, while adding four rebounds. Junior forward Tyrell McDowell added 12 points, with 11 coming in the first half. Senior Taylor Shugart chipped in 11 points and Lamb recorded a game-high nine rebounds.

Up next for the Trojans is a visit to Mars Hill on Saturday, with tip-off slated for 4 p.m. versus the Lions. Anderson defeated the Lions, 96-78 earlier this season at the Abney Center.

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