GREENVILLE, S.C. – The guard duo of Chandler Hash and CJ Gleaton combined for 76 points, as third-seeded Anderson outlasted No. 7 seed Coker, 100-89, in the semifinals of the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon at Timmons Arena.
Anderson (22-8) has won four of its last five and will face will face top-seeded and 13th-ranked Lincoln Memorial in the tournament championship contest, which is slated for 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Timmons Arena. The Trojans will be making their second appearance in the title contest since joining the league for the 2010-11 campaign.
Coker, bidding for its first appearance in the SAC Championship contest in the Cobras’ inaugural season in the league, saw its season end with a 15-13 overall record.
Hash and Gleaton posted career highs of 44 points and 32 points, respectively, while Gleaton pulled down 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. Hash set a new SAC Tournament record by going 17-of-18 from the free throw line. Junior guard Myson Jones added eight points and shared game-high honors with five assists.
Guard Errick Bethel led four Cobras in double figures with 31 points, with Julian Nelson chipping in 16 points. Forward Eren Moses netted 14 points and 11 boards, while Trey Marshall scored 10.
The contest featured eight ties and 13 lead changes, including four before the first media break, with Anderson holding a narrow 10-8 edge with 15:51 on the clock.
Neither team was able to build more than a six-point lead in the first 17 minutes, with the Trojans gaining a 16-10 edge on Gleaton’s second 3-pointer from deep in the left corner.
The Cobras forced a pair of turnovers and battled back to even the score at 18 apiece before Hash regained the lead for AU with a pair of free throws and followed a Coker miss with a jumper to boost the Trojans’ advantage back to 22-18 with less than nine minutes left in the half.
Bethel’s traditional three-point play at the 7:56 mark regained the lead for the Cobras and the two teams exchanged the lead twice before Dante Samuels’ two free throws gave Coker a 27-24 advantage.
After the Trojans regained a brief one-point lead, Coker answered to push back out to a double-digit, 40-30, lead on a five straight from Bethel, before Hash drained a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to trim the Cobras’ lead to 40-33 at intermission.
Anderson opened the second half with a 9-2 surge to reclaim a brief 43-42 lead before Bethel answered with a 3-pointer from the left with less than 17 minutes left in the game.
Hash and Gleaton combined to score seven straight for Anderson, as the Trojans claimed a 58-53 lead that they would not relinquish and AU pushed out to a 66-58 lead midway through the final half.
After AU opened its largest lead of the game at 76-64, Bethel’s rare four-point play with 3:28 left in the game trimmed the Trojan lead to just four, but AU countered with six unanswered to push back out to a double-digit 92-82 lead and sealed the victory by connecting on five consecutive free throws in the final moments.