Lander Edges Anderson, 79-70

GREENWOOD, S.C. -- Houston Wright paced Lander offensively while Curtis Milner was the defensive leader as the Bearcats won their season opener 79-70 over Anderson University in a non-conference game Wednesday night at Horne Arena. Wright led Lander (1-0) with 25 points while Milner had five of his six blocked shots in the second half. Ford ďScooterĒ Lawrence, Darius Johnson, Dane Sparrow, Greg Smalls and Jacob Davis added eight points apiece for the Bearcats while Lawrence had a game-high six assists. Nick Trull paced Anderson (1-1) with 21 points, Kevin Cornwell added 17 points, and Jarrett Johnson had 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Stephen Cobbís 3-pointer and Taylor Shugartís three-point play helped the Trojans cut a nine-point deficit to two, 59-57, with 4:50 to go. But Milner made contributions on the offensive end as well, scoring on a put-back to push Landerís lead to 61-57 lead at the 4:25 mark. Trull hit two free throws to cut Andersonís deficit to two, but Wright answered with a mid-range jumper to make it 63-59. After Trull hit a jumper, Sparrow responded with a jumper on the opposite end to keep the lead at four. The Trojans tried to answer once again, but with the shot clock winding down, Milner blocked another shot. Wright drove inside and banked in a lay-up to push the Bearcat lead to 67-61 with 1:53 to go. Lawrence hit six free throws while Smalls, Wright and Sparrow added two apiece to help Lander pull away. The Bearcats were 12-for-14 from the line in the final 1:25 of the game. There were four ties in the first 12 minutes of the game before Trullís 3-pointer put Anderson on top, 15-12. Lander took a 17-15 lead with 7:35 left when Milner blocked a shot on one end and Wright hit a 3-pointer on the other. Wright hit another 3-pointer, giving the Bearcats a 20-17 lead at the 6:19 mark. Milnerís three-point play pushed Landerís edge to 23-19 and Davisís 3-pointer made it 30-26 with 2:35 left. Anderson scored six unanswered points to tie the game at 32. But Wright hit two free throws with three seconds left to give the Bearcats a 34-32 halftime lead. Wright had half of Landerís points in the first half with 17 while Cornwell led Anderson with nine. The Bearcats opened the second half with an 13-4 run with Darius Johnson scoring seven points, including two baskets and a 3-pointer. Lawrence capped the run with a lay-up off a teammateís steal, making it 47-38 at the 14:40 mark. Trullís 3-pointer and Jarret Johnsonís put-back pulled Anderson within 49-45 with 11 minutes left. While the Bearcats were struggling offensively, blocked shots by Milner and Greg Smalls helped them stay out front. Then Smalls made a lay-up and Kip Kelley hit a 3-pointer to push Landerís lead to 54-45 at the 8:45 mark. For the game, the Bearcats made 23 of 55 shots from the floor (42 percent), 27 of 36 free throws (75 percent), and six of 19 from 3-point range (32 percent). Anderson made 22 of 53 shots (42 percent), 21 of 28 free throws (75 percent), and only five of 22 from behind the arc (23 percent). The Trojans had a 40-32 edge on the boards.
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