CENTRAL, S.C. - Luke Van-Rijn's 16 points led the Mars Hill men's basketball team to a decisive 72-52 victory over Southern Wesleyan Monday evening to sweep the season series.
Leading 10-7 off of Van-Rijn's fifth consecutive point with 15:32 remaining in the 1st half, the Lions would allow the Warriors to take 10 of the next 12 points and hold a 17-12 edge with 11:26 left in the half. Justen Hartfield and Nassyr Daniel led the Lions' charge to retake the lead, scoring six and four points, respectively, over the next three minutes to regain the advantage. The teams traded 3-pointers from Jacob Smith and Van-Rijn. Smith would go to the line with just over six minutes left in the half, hitting one-of-two shots to tie the game at 25 apiece.
Two made free throws from Hartfield seven seconds later pushed Mars Hill atop once more and was the catalyst for a 9-0 run late in the half. Hartfield had seven of the nine points. Never letting the lead drop below seven points for the remainder of the half, the Lions took eight of the final 12 points to head into halftime up 42-29.
Hartfield scored 13 of his 15 points in the opening 20 minutes, going a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor and hitting both free throw attempts. Van-Rijn collected six rebounds and added eight points. Austin Gilyard picked up four assists in seven minutes of first half play.
Smith had nine points for the Warriors and Jalen Lowery added six points to be the top Southern Wesleyan scorers in the half.
Mars Hill shot 54.5 percent from the floor, hitting 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. Southern Wesleyan posted a shooting percentage of 37.5, going 10-of-27 in the opening 20 minutes.
The Warriors would pull within six with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest, but it would be the closest they would come. With 7:34 remaining in the game, Hartfield began another large Lions' run, scoring 12 straight points to take a 66-48 lead into the final 3:56 of the game. A DJ Dobson layup ended the run, but was immediately answered by two made Vernon Jackson free throws. Mars Hill tacked on four more points to secure the 20-point victory.
On November 14, 2017, Mars Hill held on for an 83-80 win. The 72-52 victory on Monday night secured the season sweep for the Lions.
Like Hartfield in the first half, Van-Rijn shot a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, including two 3-pointers for eight points in the half. Jackson added six and finished the game with 10 points. Daniel also finished the game with 10 points.
Dobson and Justice McCullough paced the Warriors' offense with seven and six points, respectively. McCullough pulled down nine rebounds in the half and finished with a game-high 14 on the night. Both players, along with Lowery, ended the contest with 10 points.
Mars Hill improves to 4-20 while Southern Wesleyan falls to 2-23 on the year.
The Lions return home to face Anderson on Wednesday, February 14 in Stanford Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.