Rally Falls Short as Erskine Holds off Trojans

DUE WEST, S.C. -- Behind a hot-shooting hand in the second half, the Erskine men's basketball team held off the Trojans,62-56, in Conference Carolinas action Tuesday night at the Belk Center. Erskine shot 62 percent in the final half en route to snapping a six-game skid and improved to 7-11 overall and 4-8 in the league, while Anderson shot 34 percent as the Trojans fell to 13-5 overall and 7-5 in Conference Carolinas. Trailing 38-31 with 14:20 left in the contest, sophomore center Taylor Shugart gave the Trojans a much-needed boost, scoring four consecutive points and pulling down two rebounds in less than a minute to ignite the first of two second-half rallies for the visitors. Junior Stephen Cobb followed Shugart’s outburst with a traditional three-point play as AU climbed within 40-38 and more than 12 minutes on the clock. Both teams then went quiet on the offensive end, with neither squad able to score for the next 2:24, when Anderson’s Nick Trull drained a 3-pointer midway through the half, giving the Trojans their first lead since the 6:25 mark of the opening half. Erskine responded with six unanswered points to pull back out by five and the Trojans edged within 50-49 on a Brandon Young trey, but it was as close as Anderson would get, with Brandon Wright answering with a 3 of his own on the other end with 3:18 remaining. The game featured five lead changes in the first six minutes, with the Trojans using their long-distance accuracy to build an 11-7 advantage less than seven minutes into the contest. Cobb got the visiting Trojans on the board first with a quick 3-pointer just 33 seconds into the game, while Tony Anderson sandwiched a pair of 3s around an inside basket by Shugart to keep the Trojans on pace with Erskine. Shugart also collected five rebounds in the games’ first eight minutes – all on the defensive end. AU’s Trey Britton boosted the Trojan advantage to 15-7 with 10:54 left, the largest lead by either team in the opening 20 minutes of action, but Anderson went on a drought over the next 3:45, connecting on just one of its next five shots from the field, that enabled the Flying Fleet to go on a 12-2 run and regain a slim 19-17 lead at the 6:40 mark. Cobb snapped the Erskine surge with a 3-pointer to put AU back in front momentarily, but again the Trojan’s shooting went awry, with the Fleet pushing out to a 30-23 lead with 1:25 left in the opening half, before Cobb closed out the scoring with a bucket just before the horn. Each team shot exactly 44 percent in the opening half, with Erskine hitting 11-of-25 from the field and the Trojans connecting on 9-of-22, including 5-of-13 from beyond the arc, while AU committed eight turnovers compared to three for the Fleet. “You have to give Erskine a lot of credit,” Anderson head coach Jason Taylor said. “They have the players and talent and played extremely well. We rebounded the ball well and took care of it in the second half, but you make your own breaks and down the stretch we couldn’t buy a basket.” Brandon led the way for Anderson with 13 points, while Cobb netted 12 and Tony Anderson contributed 11 points and a game-high five assists. Shugart finished the night with an impressive 16 rebounds, including 10 on the defensive glass. Anderson will be back in action on Saturday as the Trojans open a three-game homestand when league-leading Mount Olive invades the Abney Center for a 4 p.m. tip-off.
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