ANDERSON, S.C. – Behind a strong second-half surge, the Anderson men’s basketball team outpaced Lenoir-Rhyne, 79-61, in South Atlantic Conference action Saturday afternoon at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson (11-5, 6-4 SAC) won its second straight contest and has claimed victories in four of its last six decisions, while earning a split of the season series. Lenoir-Rhyne slipped to 7-7 overall and 6-4 in the conference and has lost five of its last seven.
The Trojans recorded their largest rebounding advantage of the season, winning the battle of the boards, 45-26, and pulled down 11 offensive boards. Anderson shot 48.9 percent from the field, while the Bears were 17-of-59 (28.8 percent. The Trojans turned the ball over 14 times, with L-R committing six miscues.
Senior guard Chandler Hash led the Trojans with 21 points on the strength of 12-of-14 shooting from the line, while junior guard Myson Jones equaled a career-high with four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Senior CJ Gleaton narrowly missed his fifth double-double of the season, garnering 17 points and pulling down a game-high nine rebounds. The 6-foot-3 guard was 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Myles Daniel netted eight points and dished out a team-high three assists in 20 minutes of action.
Lenoir-Rhyne senior guard R.J. McClure, who was coming off a conference-record 52-point performance in Wednesday night’s double-overtime loss at Newberry, notched a game-high 22 points. Teammate Will Perry was 10-of-10 from the line and finished the afternoon with 19 points.
The hot-shooting Trojans raced out to a 15-4 lead less than six minutes into the contest behind 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Jones dropped in the game’s first basket and led the outburst with five points, with Gleaton adding a pair of jumpers.
With the Trojans still holding a double-digit 21-11 advantage at the 12:17 mark of the first half, Lenoir-Rhyne countered Anderson’s early run with a 14-6 surge of its own over the next four-plus minutes, trimming AU’s lead to just 27-25 with less than eight minutes on the clock.
Lenoir-Rhyne claimed its first lead of the game, 34-32, on junior guard Lawrence Miller’s lone 3-pointer of the contest from the left wing and the Bears went to intermission clinging to a 37-35 edge.
The Trojans opened the second half with nine unanswered points, as Hash drained three free throws and Jones canned back-to-back 3-pointers to give Anderson a lead it would not relinquish, at 44-37.
L-R’s McClure slowed the Trojans with a pair of free throws, but AU quickly reclaimed a nine-point lead on senior Kyle Sledge’s close jumper with exactly 16 minutes left in the game. Freshman guard Jonathan Fowler’s jumper later pulled the visitors within 50-47, but Lenoir-Rhyne would get no closer, as the Trojans countered with a 23-8 run to put the game out of reach with just more than four minutes remaining in the contest.
“This was one of our best games,” said Anderson head coach Jason Taylor. “We played very well for 37 minutes. Rebounding was the deal tonight. We rebounded extremely well, shared the ball well and our defense played well in both halves.”
The Trojans mark the halfway point of their South Atlantic Conference double round-robin schedule when they travel to Brevard on Wednesday for their second meeting this season. Anderson defeated the Tornados, 82-69, at the Abney Center in the league opener.