GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – The Lions' men's basketball team lost to Tusculum 97-71, Wednesday night in Pioneer Arena. Mars Hill fell to 3-19 overall and 1-14 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Pioneers improved to 6-16 on the season, 4-11 in the SAC.
Bennett Wilson led the Lions scoring 19 points and added four assists and three rebounds. Justen Hartfield recorded a double-double with 10 points and the same number of rebounds. Luke Van-Rijn rounded out the double-digit scorers for MHU tallying 12 points and nine rebounds. Mars Hill hit 38.7% (24-62) from the floor, 34.8% (8-23) from three-point range and 65.2% (15-23) from the foul line.
Peyton Woods led all scorers with 31 points to pace the Pioneers. Dashaunte Smith came off the bench to a add 17 points while Caleb Hodnett contributed 13 points. The Pioneers connected on 40.5% (34-84) of their field goals, 25.5% (12-47) of their shots from behind the arc and 85% (17-20) of their free throw attempts. Tusculum won the battle of the boards, 53-43 and scored 31 points off MHU miscues.
Mars Hill jumped out to a 9-2 lead with 15 minutes left in the first half after Austin Gilyard connected on a pair of free throw attempts. The Pioneers then scored 10 unanswered points to take a 12-9 lead with 12:35 left in the first frame after Woods scored inside. Tusculum would never trail again. The Pioneers went on a 33-17 run over the next ten minutes of play to enjoy a 19-point lead (45-26) with 1:55 left in the first period after Zach Hartle made two shots at the charity stripe. The teams went into the locker room with the Pioneers leading 49-34. Woods scored 16 points in the first half for the Pioneers while Wilson and Hartfield scored eight and seven points for the Lions, respectively, in the first half of play.
Van-Rijn nailed a three-pointer 10 seconds into the second half to trim the Pioneers lead to 12 points (49-37) but unfortunately, that was as close as the Lions would get. The Pioneers outscored Mars Hill 11-4 over the next four minutes to lead 62-41 (16:09) after Hodnett hit a three pointer. Tusculum led by as many as 30 points (97-67) with 1:55 left in regulation after Hunter Parrish scored in the paint.
Mars Hill will play at SAC foe Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday, February 10. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m.