GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Despite a career-high 22 points from guard Andrew Boynton, the Anderson University men's basketball team opened the month of February with a 72-68 South Atlantic Conference loss to Tusculum, Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena.
Anderson saw its win streak halted at two, while slipping to 9-12 overall and 7-8 in league play, while Tusculum improved to 9-12 overall and 6-9 in the SAC with its second win in three outings and earned a split of the season series.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Boynton scored 14 of his career-best effort in the first half on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, with four of his baskets coming from beyond the arc in the opening frame. The sophomore from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., also pulled down a career-high six rebounds. Freshman center Carlos Dotson posted his seventh double-double of the season by scoring 15 points and grabbing a game-high 12 boards. Sophomore forward Jeremy Bouton netted 11 points, while sophomore guard Shawn Benard handed out a game-high six assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The opening three minutes featured a pair of ties, but the Pioneers scored first and did not surrender the lead until Dotson corralled a miss by Bouton and stuck it back to give AU its first lead, at 9-8. But the Trojan advantage was brief, as Tusculum senior guard Zach Davis answered with consecutive layups to regain a three-point the lead for the Pioneers with just less than 15 minutes left in the opening frame.
Boynton countered for the Trojans by connecting on the first of his four first-half 3-pointers to knot the score for the third time at 12 apiece. Following two more ties, Boynton drained back-to-back treys to spark a 17-6 run over a nine-minute span that ended with the Trojans holding a 33-22 lead at the 2:02 mark.
However, the Pioneers closed the opening half by scoring six unanswered points to trim AU's lead to 33-28 at the break.
Dotson scored six of the Trojans first eight points to open the second half, as the Trojans rebuilt a double-digit advantage, 41-30, inside the first four minutes. Following a pair of free throws from Pioneer guard Ronnie Baylark, Boynton nailed his fifth 3-pointer of the contest to give the Trojans a 44-32 cushion – their largest of the game – with 15:26 left.
But the Trojans went cold from the field, connecting on just one of their next seven shots as Tusculum crept back and posted a 16-3 run to claim its first lead (48-47) since the 14:57 mark of the first half. The Pioneer lead was brief, however, as freshman Chance Prandy's traditional three-point play at the 9:07 mark gave the advantage back to AU.
Boynton scored the Trojans next five point for the Black and Gold to boost AU's lead to 55-50, but Tusculum responded with another 16-3 surge to take a lead it would not surrender. After the Pioneers built the eight-point lead, AU cut the deficit to two possessions on three occasions inside the final three minutes, but was unable to get any closer, as Davis and Baylark were 4-for-4 from the line in the final 40 seconds.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Trojans were 5-of-12 from beyond the arc in the opening half, but were 1-of-10 from long range in the second half.
• The Trojans have dished out double-figure assists in six straight games and nine of their last 10 games.
• The Trojan defense has limited their last two opponents to an average of 61.5 points per game.
The Trojans open a two-game conference homestand by welcoming Coker to the Abney Athletic Center, Saturday afternoon. AU defeated Coker, 96-84, in the season's first meeting in Hartsville. Tip-off is set for at 4 p.m.