ANDERSON, S.C. – With seven players reaching double figures, the Anderson men's basketball team opened the season with a convincing, 92-75, win over Southern Wesleyan, Friday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson captured its third consecutive win over the Warriors and improved to 4-1 all-time in season-opening contests at home.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Junior guard Gage Ellis poured in a team-high 17 points in 22 minutes of action, with classmate Randall Shaw netting 16 points. Junior forward Jeremy Bouton scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while senior Maurice Howard and junior guard Andrew Boynton each tallied 11 points apiece and combined for five assists. Senior center Rakish Taylor and freshman guard Josh Livingston each posted 10 points apiece.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans opened the game by connecting on four of their first five shots from the field, but three early turnovers and 62.5 percent shooting on the other side enabled Southern Wesleyan to take a 12-6 lead inside the first four minutes.
AU battled back to take its first lead since scoring the opening basket, as Ellis connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with just under 13 minutes left in the first half and following a jumper on the other end, Ellis recorded a rare four-point play less than a minute later to give the Trojans a 20-18 edge.
The two teams then hit a dry spell that lasted more than two minutes, before Boynton connected on a pair of free throws. SWU countered with five straight points to regain a narrow, 23-22, while Livingston dropped in a 3-pointer to spark a 20-3 scoring outburst that built AU's lead to 42-26 with 3:07 remaining in the opening half.
But the Warriors crept back within seven at the break on the strength of a 14-5 surge that set the halftime score at 47-40.
Behind 61.5 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes, the Trojans rebuilt a 17-point lead inside the first nine minutes of the frame and held its largest lead, 87-65, with 4:36 on the clock.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
In addition to the seven Trojans who reached double figures in the scoring column, all five Southern Wesleyan starters posted double figures.
• Anderson is making its fifth straight appearance and seventh overall appearance in a Conference Challenge.
• The Trojans are hosting a Conference challenge for the first time.
• The Trojans are now 7-6 in seven appearances in either South Atlantic Conference-Peach Belt or South Atlantic Conference-Conference Carolinas Challenges.
• The Trojans are 11-8 over 19 years in season-openers.
• AU is now 4-1 in home season-openers.
• Randall Shaw is now 15 points away from becoming the 13th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
• The Trojans were 18-of-22 (81.8%) from the charity stripe.
• AU held a 12-rebound advantage over the Warriors.
The Trojans will square off against Peach Belt Conference-opponent Lander, Saturday afternoon in the Conference Challenge finale. Tip-off versus the Bearcats is set for 3 p.m. in the second game of a doubleheader.