MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (1-2) defeated North Greenville (1-2) by a score of 78-65 inside Chambers Gym Tuesday evening to pick up their first win of the season.
The Lions entered the second half trailing 31-30, but quickly took the lead, 37-35, off of a jumper from Austin Gilyard. A three-pointer from Spencer Kirkpatrick regained the lead for the Crusaders for a short time before Mars Hill would retake the lead off of basket from Nassyr Daniel. The Lions would not trail for the remainder of the contest. Leading 39-38, Mars Hill would take 11 of the next 18 points to build a five point lead. They would develop a double-digit lead by scoring 13 of the next 17 points, going up 63-49 with just over eight minutes remaining in the contest.
Mars Hill would not relinquish the double-digit advantage and closed out the Crusaders for the win in their home opener. The Lions shot 51.7 percent from the floor in the second half and went a perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line. North Greenville hit 45.8 percent of their shots in the second half and converted 9-of-17 free throws. In total, Mars Hill went a perfect 15-of-15 from the free throw line while the Crusaders shot 11-of-25.
North Greenville dictated the opening five minutes of play, scoring 12 of the first 17 points with Kovi Tate and Ryan Mobley scoring four points apiece in that span. The Lions clawed their way back into the game, tying the game at 22-22 from a jump shot made by Ja'Shawn Brooks. The Lions scored six of the next seven points with Reggie Wright and Chris Barnette converting on three-pointers. The Crusaders rallied in the final 2:19 of the half, scoring four of the final six points to enter the half up by one.
DJ Brooks led the Crusaders with a double-double, scoring 16 points and collecting 10 rebounds. Roderick Howell added 15 points on the night while Tate and Daniel Burchette chipped in 14 and 12, respectively.
The Lions were led by Gilyard, who scored a game-high 21 points, including four three-pointers. He shot 8-of-13 from the floor and added a game-high five assists. Chris Barnette added 14 points while the trio of Brooks, Daniel, and Austin Stone each had 10 points apiece. Vernon Jackson led the team with eight rebounds.
Mars Hill returns to action on Saturday, November 17th with a home contest versus Regent. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.