OWENSBORO, Ky. – The Lions lost on the road at Kentucky Wesleyan 82-74 in men's basketball action Saturday afternoon at the Owensboro Sportscenter. Mars Hill fell to 2-10 on the season while the Panthers improved to 9-5 on the year. The game saw 18 lead changes and six ties.
Bennett Wilson led the Lions with 17 points and five assists followed by Nassyr Daniel, Vernon Jackson and Justen Hartfield who added 12 points apiece in the contest. MHU hit 47.5% (29-61) of their field goals, 36.4% (4-11) of their three-point shots and 63.2% (12-19) of their free throws.
Daniel Dzierzawski led all scorers with 24 points to pace KWC. Amir Warnock followed with 15 points and seven rebounds. The Panthers scored 24 points off MHU turnovers and 10 off the break. KWC connected on 50.8% (30-59) of their field goal attempts, 26.7% (4-15) of their three pointers and 69.2% (18-26) of their foul shots.
The Panthers jumped out to an eight point lead (10-2) with 16:25 left in the first half after Warnock scored inside. Mars Hill answered out scoring KWC 16-3 over the next five minutes of play to lead by five points (18-13) with 11:51 on the clock after Luke Van-Rijn converted an old fashioned three-point play. The remainder of the first half was closely played with neither team leading by more than three points. A layup by Wilson with six seconds left in the first period enabled the Lions to take a 39-38 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Mars Hill started the second frame on a 7-2 run to enjoy their largest lead of the game (46-40) with 17:03 left in the second half after Daniel score in the paint. The Panthers answered by outscoring Mars Hill 11-4 during the ensuing five minutes of the contest to take the lead for good (51-50) after Dzierzawski hit a couple of free throws. The Panthers extended their advantage to as many as 14 points (75-61) with 5:10 left in regulation after Dzierzawski hit a layup. Mars Hill outscored KWC 13-7 down the stretch but it was not enough as the Panthers held on for an eight point victory.
The Lions will return to South Atlantic Conference play on Wednesday, January 3, when they host the Tusculum Pioneers. Tip-off in Stanford Arena is set for 8 p.m.