Late Scoring Drought Proves Costly as Trojans Fall to Lander in Season Opener

Late Scoring Drought Proves Costly as Trojans Fall to Lander in Season Opener

CENTRAL, S.C. – The Anderson men's basketball team managed just one basket inside the final four minutes and dropped a 75-71 decision to Lander in the season-opener for both teams at the Southern Wesleyan Tip-off Classic, Friday night at Historic Tysinger Gymnasium.

Senior forward Jeremy Bouton scored a team-high 20 points, including 16 in the second half, and grabbed seven rebounds. Classmate Gage Ellis added 15 points, while junior guard Shawn Benard notched a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 11 assists. Senior guard Randall Shaw and sophomore forward Josh Livingston each scored nine points, with Shaw pulling down six boards.

First Half
After falling behind by four with more than 16 minutes on the clock, Bouton connected on a pair of free throws and Livingston dropped in a layup less than 30 seconds later to knot the score at 10 apiece with 15:05 on the clock.

The Bearcats countered with five straight points before Shaw drained AU's first trey of the night from the right wing to pull the Trojans back within two. Lander edged out to a three-point lead on two occasions over the next two minutes before Ellis ignited a 13-2 run with a jumper. The Greenville, S.C., native added four more points during the outburst, while Shaw helped fuel the surge with four points to give the Trojans a 30-22 lead with 2:04 left in the opening half.
Lander responded with a 7-2 run to close the half and the Trojans held a 32-29 advantage at the half.

Second Half
AU steadily pushed out to a double-digit, 47-37, lead – the largest by either team – on a driving left-handed layup by Benard with less than 16 minutes on the clock. The Trojans maintain0ed the advantage and still led, 53-44, at the 12:54 mark before the Bearcats posted an 11-2 run that was fueled by a pair of 3-pointers and evened the score for the seventh time, at 55 apiece, with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Less than a minute later, Benard recorded a traditional three-point play and followed a Shaw layup with a pair of free throws to give the Black and Gold a 64-59 lead. But the Bearcats countered with seven straight points to take their first lead since the 8:28 mark of the first half.

Trailing by two, Bouton connected on four straight free throws to give AU a 68-66 edge with 3:41 remaining, but the Trojans came up empty on their next five possessions, which enabled Lander to push out to a 73-68 lead with just 15 seconds on the clock. Bouton nailed a trey from deep on the left wing with nine seconds remaining, but Lander senior Rahu Purdie sealed the win with two free throws with seven seconds left.

The two teams combined to go 8-for-41 (19.5%) from beyond the arc, including 2-for-20 in the opening half.

• The game was tied 11 times and there were four lead changes.
• The Trojans are now 7-8 in eight appearances in a season-opening conference challenge.
• The Trojans converted 15 Lander turnovers into 15 points.
• AU slipped to 10-9 in season openers over the past 19 seasons.
• Lander out-rebounded the Trojans, 44-34.
• Senior guard Randall Shaw is just 18 points away from surpassing former standout Clay Huggins (1998-02) for sixth place in the school record books.

The Trojans continue their season-opening road swing by squaring off against the host Warriors, Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.