WINGATE, N.C. – The Anderson University men’s basketball team suffered its lowest shooting percentage in at least five seasons, as the Trojans wrapped up their three-game South Atlantic Conference road swing with an 85-75 setback to Wingate Saturday afternoon at Cuddy Arena.
Anderson (16-6, 11-5 SAC) slipped into a tied for second place in the league standings, while seeing its win streak halted at seven games. Wingate improved to 13-7 overall and 10-6 in the conference and has won two of its last three.
The Trojans held a 47-44 rebounding advantage and pulled down 16 offensive boards, while scoring 18 points off 11 Bulldog turnovers, but it was not enough to offset their 29.2 percent shooting from the field.
Anderson senior guard Chandler Hash poured in a game-high 27 points, including 25 in the second half, while adding three steals and three assists. Junior guard Myson Jones netted 19 points and senior guard CJ Gleaton tallied 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
Junior guard Ryan Daye led the Bulldogs with 19 points, while sophomore guard Xavier Griffin netted 15 points. Senior Deion Turman posted a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Freshman Isiah Cureton chipped in 12 points and 11 boards.
“The effort was there,” said Anderson head coach Jason Taylor. “We played hard but we have to play better. Despite shooting just 29 percent, we still had an opportunity to win the game.”
Early long-range accuracy propelled Wingate to a 13-6 lead, as the Bulldogs connected on 3-of-4 treys inside the opening five minutes of the contest, while Gleaton’s traditional three-point play pulled AU within 13-9 at the 14:27 mark of the opening frame
But WU answered with its fourth 3-pointer in five attempts to push back out to a seven-point cushion 19 seconds later. With 14:09 remaining in the first half, Wingate was shooting 85.7 percent from the field, while the Trojans were just 3-of-14 (21.4 percent).
Less than three minutes later, Anderson junior Nick Jackson nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to trim the Bulldog lead to 17-14, but the Bulldogs countered with seven unanswered points and pushed out to a double-digit, 25-15 cushion with 7:43 left in the first half. Shooting woes continued to plague the Trojans, as AU was just 4-of-21 (19 percent) through the first 13 minutes as Wingate steadily built a 14-point lead with just more than a minute left in the first half.
Anderson center Chris Ross countered by dropping in a basket and Gleaton drained a 3-pointer as Anderson closed the half with five straight points and trailed 36-27 at intermission.
Wingate posted five straight points to open the second half and reclaimed a 14-point lead, but Jones cut the deficit in half by netting seven straight points for Anderson, as the Trojans pulled within 41-34 with 17:28 left.
Anderson still trailed by double digits with less than 13 minutes on the clock when Hash connected on his first 3-pointer of the afternoon and Gleaton dropped in one-of-two from the line to pull AU within 52-46. The Trojans closed the gap to six on four more occasions before Hash’s layup at the 5:07 mark pulled Anderson within 67-64, but the Bulldogs withstood the challenge as Cureton responded with a jumper and Terrill Hilliard added a trey to boost the Wingate advantage back to eight, at 72-64.
Hash knocked down another 3-pointer, moments later, but five was as close as the Trojans would get over the final 3:26, as the Bulldogs made just enough free throws (7-of-11) inside the final three minutes to hold off the Trojans for the third consecutive time.
Anderson returns to the Abney Athletic Center on Wednesday, as the Trojans open a two-game homestand by playing host to Mars Hill at 8 p.m. The contest will be a rematch of the Jan. 15 contest that saw AU defeat the Lions, 79-70, in Mars Hill, N.C.