No. 23 Royals Survive Trojans’ Upset Bid

No. 23 Royals Survive Trojans’ Upset Bid

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Anderson men's basketball team nearly overcame a 14-point second-half deficit, and trailed 23rd-ranked Queens by nine points inside the final four minutes, but its upset bid fell just short as the Royals prevailed, 79-77, in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action, Saturday afternoon at Curry Arena.

Anderson slipped to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play, while seeing its win streak halted at three games. Queens (7-2, 2-0 SAC) has won two straight and six of its last seven decisions.

Junior guard Shawn Benard led all players with a season-high 22 points and handed out a game-high eight assists, while senior guard Gage Ellis added 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. Guard Andrew Boynton netted 14 points off the bench, while going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. The senior from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., also swiped a career-high six steals. Sophomore forward Josh Livingston tossed in 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.

First Half
After the Royals jumped out to an early 9-4 lead inside the opening four minutes, senior Kevin Simpson and Benard knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give AU its first lead of the contest, at 10-9, at the 15:38 mark.

But Queens responded with a 7-2 surge to reclaim the advantage and steadily pushed out to a double-digit, 28-18, lead with 8:32 on the clock on the strength of a 10-2 outburst. Ellis then dropped in a pair of free throws to spark a 15-2 run by the Trojans over the next 4:36, and with Jeremy Bouton draining a pair of treys to fuel the comeback, the Black and Gold claimed a 33-30 edge with less than four minutes left in the half.

AU then went cold and connected on just two of its next eight jumpers, while the Royals finished the half on a 10-5 run and held a 40-38 lead at the break.

Second Half
The final stanza was knotted four times in the first three minutes, before Queens rattled off a 19-5 scoring run that gave the Royals a seemingly insurmountable, 66-52, advantage midway through the half.

Queens still led by nine, 75-66, at the 3:46 mark, before Boynton connected on two free throws to ignite an 11-3 rally that saw AU climb within a single point, 78-77, on his 3-pointer from the right side with just six seconds on the clock.

The Royals' Daniel Carr connected on one of two free throws with 2.3 ticks remaining and the Trojans were unable to connect on a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Led by Shawn Benard's perfect 7-for-7 day, the Trojans were 16-of-19 from the free throw stripe.

• The score was tied six times and the lead changed hands, including eight times in the first half.
• AU had four players reach double-figure scoring for the third time this season.
• AU suffered its first loss since dropping a seven-point decision at Limestone in mid-November.
• The Trojans recorded a season-high 13 steals on the afternoon.
• Queens won the rebounding battle, 36-26.
• The Trojans forced Queens into 17 turnovers.
• AU converted the 17 miscues into 18 points.
• The Trojans committed a season-low five turnovers.
• The Trojans have reached double-figure assists in four straight games and six of their seven outings.
Gage Ellis has reached double-figure scoring in all seven games.

Anderson opens a five-game homestand - its longest since opening the 2012-13 campaign with five straight home contests - by playing host to Johnson C. Smith on Saturday. Tip-off versus the Golden Bulls is slated for 4 p.m. at the Abney Athletic Center.