ANDERSON, S.C. – Young Harris used a second-half rally to overtake Anderson, as the Trojans opened a brief two-game homestand with a 77-69 setback to the Mountain Lions Thursday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson (7-3) had its two-game win streak halted, while suffering its first nonconference setback of the season in five outings. Young Harris (8-1) claimed its fourth straight win of the campaign.
Senior guard CJ Gleaton posted his third straight double-double and fourth of the season with a team-high 21 points and a career-best 11 rebounds. The Anderson, S.C. native also added three steals and a pair of assists on the night. Senior guard Chandler Hash added 13 points, while senior Kyle Sledge fell just short of his first double-double of the season with eight points and 10 rebounds. Junior center Chris Ross also tossed in eight points and collected four rebounds.
Young Harris junior guard Herdie Lawrence led all scorers with 23 points, while guard Isiah Johnson tallied 21 points and C.J. Wilson netted 10 points for the Mountain Lions.
“We did not take care of the ball,” said Anderson head coach Jason Taylor. “Their quickness hurt us and they started getting to the free throw line. Then (Herdie) Lawrence got hot.”
The Trojans opened up an early 9-4 advantage less than three minutes into the game, but then suffered through a four-minute scoring drought that enabled Young Harris to answer with seven unanswered points and took its first lead of the game, at 11-9, on a jumper from junior forward Kevin Altidor with 13:33 left in the first half.
The remainder of the opening frame saw five ties and five lead changes, with neither team able to build more than a three-point edge over the final nine-plus minutes of the half. Anderson garnered its largest lead of the frame when Sledge tipped in a Myson Jones miss just before the buzzer, giving the Trojans a 30-24 halftime advantage.
The Trojans claimed their largest lead of the contest less than two minutes into the second half, as Hash and Ross dropped in back-to-back layups to boost the AU cushion to a double-digit 34-24 score. YHC answered with six straight points before Gleaton and Hash combined for five points to slow the Mountain Lions and give AU a brief 39-30 lead.
Following sophomore Steven Faust’s putback that gave Anderson a 49-43 lead with 9:35 left in the contest, the Mountain Lions rattled off a 20-3 outburst over the next four minutes to take a lead they would not relinquish. Lawrence and Johnson fueled the run by combining to connect on four consecutive 3-pointers during the stretch.
Trailing, 63-54, with 5:15 on the clock, Gleaton willed the Trojans back into the contest by scoring 13 of Anderson’s points as part of a 16-7 run that saw AU climb within 70-68 on redshirt freshman Lex Davis steal and layin with 34.6 seconds remaining.
But the Mountain Lions connected on 7-of-8 free throws in the final 33 seconds to clinch their second consecutive win past the Trojans.
The Trojans, who will be playing their third game in six days, welcome Winston-Salem State to the Abney Center on Saturday for their final nonconference contest of the calendar year. Tip-off versus the Rams is scheduled for 4 p.m.