MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill men's basketball team dropped its South Atlantic Conference opener to Anderson by the score of 76-65 on Tuesday evening. The Lions fell to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in conference, while Anderson improves to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the league.
Bennett Wilson and Charles Moore led the Lions in scoring with 10 each, while Valentin Bauer added nine points and three assists. Vernon Jackson chipped in nine points and 10 boards. Cody Hylton produced a season-high eight points in the losing effort.
Anderson opened the contest with four straight points, but a make by Jackson from the charity stripe followed by a shot from downtown by Moore knotted the contest at 4-all heading into the first media timeout. Back-to-back threes coming out the break gave the Trojans a 10-4 lead with 12:45 left to play.
However, an 11-3 run over the next three-plus minutes, capped off by a triple from Hylton, gave the Lions their first lead of the contest at 15-13. The game of runs continued, this time with Anderson opening up a 26-19 advantage following a 13-4 spurt. That did not slow the Lions down as Wilson, Bauer, and Collin Hartman connected on back-to-back-to-back threes to push Mars Hill back ahead 28-26. A heavily contested layup dropped through the bottom of the net for the Trojans and the teams entered the locker room deadlocked at 28-28.
The Lions shot only 30-percent in the first half, but knocked down five shots from behind the arc to stay competitive. Brandon Watkins and Moore led the Lions in scoring during the first session with four points each.
A 9-4 run to open the second half gave the Lions their biggest lead of the contest at 37-32. That advantage did not last long as Anderson went on a 29- burst, pushing ahead 61-46 with under five minutes remaining in the game. A late push by the Lions was not enough as Anderson pulled out the 76-65 win.
Randall Shaw scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Trojans, while Chance Prandy and Jeremy Bouton grabbed eight rebounds each.
The Lions will return to the court on Saturday, November 26 as they play host to Virginia State. Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside Chambers Gymnasium.