GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (6-6, 1-4 SAC) fell to Tusculum (5-8, 1-4 SAC) by a score of 72-60 Wednesday evening on the road.
Mars Hill found themselves trailing 9-4 with 6:43 elapsed in the first half before scoring five straight and nine of the next 11 points to take their first lead of the game with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half. Tusculum, trailing by two, reeled off eight straight points to go up by six. They held the lead for the remainder of the half, even with Mars Hill on the comeback bid.
A layup from Ja'Shawn Brooks with the Lions trailing 23-15 spurred Mars Hill to a 5-0 run to pull within one with 2:06 left in the first half. The Pioneers scored the final three points of the half to go up by four before the buzzer sounded.
The Lions kept the contest within two points for the first 3:49, but a Pioneer 7-0 run extended their lead to nine with just over six minutes played. With 11:33 remaining, Tusculum extended their lead to double-digits off of a Brandon Mitchell dunk.
Mars Hill narrowed the deficit to single digits with 6:31 left in the contest off of an Austin Stone free throw and then once again, down to eight points with over a minute remaining in the contest, off of a Javonte Cook layup. The Pioneers defense held strong throughout the second half to earn their first conference win of the year.
Austin Gilyard scored a team-high 15 points in the half and finished the contest with a game-high 19. Dillon Smith scored all 10 of his points in the final 20 minutes. Gibson led all Pioneer players with 15 points.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, January 12th when they square off against Lenoir-Rhyne. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.