ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University men's basketball team erased a 15-point second-half deficit, but its' bid to upset sixth-ranked Queens fell just short, as the nationally-ranked and league-leading Royals held off the Trojans, 83-75, in South Atlantic Conference action, Saturday afternoon at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson slipped to 11-8 overall and 5-6 in conference play with its first home setback since mid-December, while Queens improved to 19-2 overall and remained undefeated in the conference, at 11-0.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Senior guard Randall Shaw led all players with 23 points, including 15 in the first half, while pulling down six rebounds. Classmate Gage Ellis added 17 points and swiped three steals. Junior guard Shawn Benard netted 11 points, recorded six rebounds and dished out a game-high four assists, with senior forward Jeremy Bouton scored 10 points and grabbed six boards.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans got off to a slow start by connecting on just one of their first seven shots from the field, while Queens drained four of its first six field goal attempts and jumped out to an 11-3 lead less than four minutes into the contest.
But AU shaved the deficit to just one possession as Shaw dropped in eight of his 15 first-half points in a two-minute span, with the Trojans getting as close as 17-15 with 12:17 on the clock. However, the Royals held the lead and pushed out to a double-digit, 27-17, advantage at the 8:40 mark and edged out to their largest lead of the half, at 35-21, with more than four minutes left in the frame and held a 44-32 halftime cushion.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Queens built a 47-32 lead – their largest of the game – but the Trojans refused to wilt, as they countered with Shaw fueling a 17-9 scoring run to slash the Royals' lead to just four (53-49) with more than 14 minutes remaining in the contest.
Moments later, Ellis netted a pair of free throws and dropped in a driving, twisting layup to pull the Black and Gold within 55-53 and brought the home crowd to its' feet. The Trojans had the momentum and looked poised to take advantage, but a foul was whistled on the other end and Second-Team All-SAC selection Daniel Carr sank three free throws to momentarily derail the comeback.
But the Trojans weren't through, stayed within striking distance and eventually took their first lead since the 18:27 mark of the first half on a layup by Benard with 7:56 remaining in the game. Queens responded with seven unanswered points to reclaim the lead and made just enough free throws (7-of-10) inside the final three minutes to hold off the Trojans.
STAT OF THE DAY
The two teams combined to go 8-for-33 (24.2%) from beyond the arc.
• Randall Shaw has moved into second place in the school record books with 1,556 career points after surpassing former standouts Chandler Hash (2011-14) and Nick Trull (2008-12).
• Senior Jeremy Bouton needs 39 points to become the 14th player in program history to score at least 1,000 career points.
• Queens swept the season series and claimed its 11th straight win past the Trojans.
• The Trojans lost at home for just the second time this season.
• Queens won the rebounding battle, 40-26.
• AU converted 13 Royals' turnovers into 19 points.
• Gage Ellis has reached double-digit scoring in all 18 of his games.
• The Trojans, who lead the SAC in free throw accuracy, connected on at least 80% of their free throws for the eighth time this season.
• Jeremy Bouton has pulled down at least five rebounds in eight consecutive games.
The Trojans go back on the road for a brief one-game road swing by visiting Tusculum on Wednesday. AU will be looking for a sweep of the regular-season series after defeating the Pioneers, 69-64, earlier this season. Tip-off in Greeneville, Tenn., is slated for 8 p.m.