Late Rally Not Enough as Limestone Outlasts Trojans

Late Rally Not Enough as Limestone Outlasts Trojans

ANDERSON, S.C. – Despite a game-high 32 points from junior guard Randall Shaw, the Anderson men's basketball team suffered its second straight setback, as the Trojans fell, 80-71, to Limestone in nonconference action Wednesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.   

Anderson slipped to 1-2 on the early season, while Limestone (3-0), the preseason favorite to win the Conference Carolinas' title, overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to win its fifth decision in the last six meetings with the Trojans.  

Shaw was 11-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and added six rebounds in the setback. Junior guard Gage Ellis netted a season-high 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, with freshman guard Josh Livingston grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.

First Half
Looking to hand the Saints their first loss of the young season, Shaw's driving layup with just more than 16 minutes on the clock gave AU a narrow, 8-7, lead – its' first of the night. But Limestone countered with five straight points to claim a brief four-point advantage just over a minute later.

Ellis answered for the Black and Gold by sandwiching a layup and a 3-pointer around a jumper by Saints' leading scorer Kenny Hairston to pull AU within one and Shaw followed with a rare four-point play to give the Trojans a 17-14 lead with 12:42 on the clock. The score was deadlocked three more times over the next two minutes, with Shaw's traditional three-point play giving AU a 22-21 edge.

Ellis added a free throw less than a minute later to spark a 16-8 run by the Trojans, with Shaw and Livingston each draining a 3-poiner to fuel the surge as AU pushed out to a double-digit, 39-29, lead at the 2:19 mark. Sophomore guard Christian Jeffords' second of two free throws gave the Trojans their largest lead of the night, at 40-29, and they went to halftime leading 40-31.
Second Half
After connecting on 14-of-27 from the field during the opening 20 minutes, an early second-half field goal drought proved costly for the Trojans. AU misfired on its first six field goal attempts of the second frame and dropped in just three free throws in the first 4:13 of the final stanza.

The cold spell enabled Limestone to go on a 13-3 run and claim their first lead, 44-43, since the midway point of the first half. The lead changed hands six times over the next three minutes, with Limestone's Macoumba Kane connecting on a short jumper to give the Saints a 51-50 edge with less than 13 minutes on the clock and Limestone would not trail again.

With the score knotted at 53 apiece, the Saints rattled off eight straight points. Staring at the eight-point deficit, Shaw scored four of AU's next six points as part of a 6-1 surge to get the Trojans within 62-59 with 6:14 remaining. Limestone quickly rebuilt a 69-61 advantage with a 7-2 surge. Shaw drained 1-of-2 free throws and Livingston nailed a trey from deep in the left corner to get AU within 69-65 before Kane dropped in a pair of free throws.

Shaw's 3-pointer from the left side trimmed the Limestone lead to just 71-68 with 99 seconds on the clock, but the Saints connected on just enough free throws (6-of-9) inside the final minute to seal the victory.  
• The Trojans are now 1-1 versus teams from Conference Carolinas.
• With his second basket of the first half, junior guard Randall Shaw became the 13th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.  The Greenville, S.C., native is the eighth player in the AU men's basketball record books to reach the milestone in three years or less.
• Limestone held a 47-29 rebounding advantage, while collecting 17 offensive boards and scoring 14 second-chance points.
• The lead changed hands 12 times and there were six ties. 

Anderson goes on the road for the first time this season, when the Trojans visit archrival Erskine, Saturday night. Tip-off in Due West, S.C. is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.