Trojans Hold Off Knights

ANDERSON, S.C. -- Playing on its home court for the first time since mid-December, the Anderson men's basketball made a triumphant return by defeating St. Andrews, 91-87, Saturday night at the Abney Athletic Center. Anderson (9-3, 3-3 Conference Carolinas) held a 14-point lead with 5:20 remaining in the contest before St. Andrews (6-8, 2-5 Conference Carolinas) heated up from long range and connected on four-of-five 3-pointers in a four-minute span to trim the Trojans’ lead to just 86-84 with a minute on the clock. Sophomore guard Nick Trull answered for the Trojans with a deep trey from the right side to push the AU advantage back to five, but following two misfires from the charity stripe by the Trojans, St. Andrews guard Drew Zimbro countered with yet another 3-pointer with just 8.7 seconds remaining to climb back to within 89-87. Anderson inbounded the ball to Brandon Young, who drew the foul and calmly sank both free throws to make it a two possession game with 7.0 on the clock. The Knights' Aaron Christian launched a desperation heave just before the buzzer that was off the mark. The Trojans had five players reach double figures in the scoring column as they snapped a two-game skid en route to improving to 5-1 in the friendly confines of the Abney Center, while St. Andrews remained winless on the road during the 2009 campaign. St. Andrews jumped out to an early 11-5 lead less than four minutes into the contest, but the Anderson offense exploded on a 22-3 run over the next eight minutes. Junior guard Oskars Ernsteins came off the bench and sparked the surge with the first of his game-high five 3-pointers from the right side. Senior Jamelle Lowery followed less than a minute later with a traditional three-point play to knot the score for the first time of the contest, while Trull and Ernsteins combined to knock down three consecutive 3s. After the Trojans pushed out to a 27-14 cushion, St. Andrews responded by closing out the first half with a 17-5 run of its own and setting the score at 32-31 at the break with AU holding the advantage. The Knights’ Marvin Jackson scored six straight points coming out of intermission before AU’s Kevis Cornwell drove the lane and regained a brief 38-37 edge. The lead changed hands five times over the next two-plus minutes as each team battled for the advantage, with Brandon Young’s layup and free throw at the 14:53 mark giving the Trojans a lead they would not relinquish, at 43-41. Anderson went on to build double-digit leads midway through the second half before the Trojans held off St. Andrews’ final push. “It is good to get the win,” Anderson head coach Jason Taylor said. “We shot the ball well but we still need to rebound and defend better.” Ernsteins scored a team-high 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, while Trey Britton added 15 and Trull notched 14 points. Young chipped in 13 points and Cornwell netted 12 points. Sophomore Taylor Shugart narrowly missed a double-double, scoring nine points and pulling down eight rebounds. Anderson gets back on the road for a brief one-game Conference Carolinas visit to Coker on Monday. Tip-off versus the Cobras is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Timberlake-Lawton Gymnasium in Hartsville. Boxscore
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