Mars Hill falls to Lenoir-Rhyne at home

Mars Hill falls to Lenoir-Rhyne at home

MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill men's basketball team fell to Lenoir-Rhyne, 74-55, in Stanford Arena Wednesday evening. Nassyr Daniel and Austin Gilyard led the Lions with 12 points apiece.

The Lions started slow to open the contest, falling behind 10-0 before Bennett Wilson scored the first basket for Mars Hill at 4:28 of the first half. Justen Hartfield's layup 23 seconds later would cut the lead down to six, but the Bears responded back with five straight points. Trailing 15-4 with just over six minutes played, the Lions would go on a 10-2 run to pull within four points.

Djibril Diallo's layup recovered the six point lead for Lenoir-Rhyne with just over seven minutes to play. With 3:40 remaining the in half, Wilson would strike again to cut the lead back down to two points. A late half charge by the Bears saw Lenoir-Rhyne go on a 7-4 run with just over a minute remaining, led by Diallo and Darius Simmons, who each had three points. Brandon Watkins would converted a layup with two seconds left in the half to send the Lions into halftime trailing 27-24.

Diallo ended the half with 10 points and two assists. Bertrand Awana had three blocks and two rebounds for the Bears. Wilson had a team-high six first half points for the Lions and added two rebounds. Nassyr Daniel and Justen Hartfield each had five rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.

Austin Gilyard opened the second half with a made jump shot for his sixth point of the contest to pull within one point of the Bears. It would be the closest Mars Hill would come in the final frame. Lenoir-Rhyne would string together an 11-5 run with Cory Thomas accounting for seven of the Bears' points.

Behind 38-31, Gilyard would jumpstart a comeback bid with another made basket to pull within five with 16:10 remaining in the game. Daniel was fouled on a made layup and went to the free throw line to convert the three-point play. The Lions were behind 38-36 before Simmons and Thomas would score a combined six straight for the Bears to reestablish an eight point lead.

Wilson and Brandon Reeves scored the next four points for the Lions to trail 44-40 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the contest. Lenoir-Rhyne, capitalizing on Mars Hill turnovers, would extend their lead on a 13-2 run to pull away from the Lions. The Bears would end the game on a 17-13 run to come away with a 74-55 win.

Thomas led all players with 17 points. Simmons ended the contest with 13 points and four rebounds. Bertrand had game-highs in rebounds (12) and blocks (5).

Daniel added nine rebounds to go along with his 12 points. Gilyard had a game-high seven assists.

The Bears scored 24 points off of turnovers and had 27 points from the bench compared to Mars Hill's 11.

Mars Hill falls to 2-8 (0-4 SAC) as Lenoir-Rhyne moves to 4-5 (2-2 SAC).

The Lions travel to Coker to take on the Cobras Saturday, December 16 in South Atlantic Conference play. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.