Lions drop overtime thriller in season opener

Lions drop overtime thriller in season opener

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (0-1) dropped an overtime thriller, 92-88, against Limestone (1-0) Friday night on day one of the SAC/CC Challenge held inside Cuddy Arena on the campus of Wingate University.

The Lions held a 76-73 lead with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation.  With two seconds left on the clock, a three-pointer made by Kenny Hairston would send the game into overtime.  The made trey was Hairston's fourth in regulation.

Mars Hill was outscored 16-12 in the overtime frame with Nehemiah McGriff leading the Saints with eight points and three rebounds.  Ja'Shawn Brooks led the Lions with eight points.  In the overtime frame, Limestone hit five-of-seven shots, while Mars Hill connected on three-of-nine shots.

Brooks exploded offensively for the Lions in the second half, scoring 20 of his game-high 28 points.  With 14:31 remaining in regulation, the Lions trailed 48-43.  They would go on a 14-0 run over the next 2:50 to take a 57-48 lead.  Brooks had six points in the run.  Limestone would claw back into the contest over the next six minutes, eventually tying the contest at 65-65 with less than six minutes remaining.  The teams traded the lead several times in the final minutes of the half until Hairston's three-pointer forced the game into overtime.

The first half saw both teams tentatively feeling each other out, with no one gaining more than a five point lead throughout the opening 20 minutes.  Hairston led the Saints with eight points in the half followed by Malik Gaffney's seven.  T.J. Sheppard pulled down a team-high five rebounds in the first 20 minutes.  Austin Stone led all players in the first half with 10 points, going two-of-four from beyond the arc and pulling down two rebounds.  Nassyr Daniel went three-of-three from the field and added two free throws for eight points in the half.  Tavion Trimble had a team-high five rebounds.

Hairston led the Saints with 24 points, going nine-of-16 from the field, including six three-pointers.  McGriff had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, also shooting a perfect six-of-six from the field. 

Brooks led all players with 28 points, shooting five-of-nine from beyond the arc.  Stone ended the contest with 13 points and seven rebounds while Reggie Wright added 16 points.

The Lions held the free throw advantage, knocking down 24-of-28 compared to the Saints' 20-of-30.  Limestone shot 51.7 percent from the floor while the Lions ended the contest shooting 36 percent.

Mars Hill will take on Belmont Abbey on day two of the SAC/CC Challenge on Saturday, November 10th.  Tipoff is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.