MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (6-8, 1-6 SAC) battled valiantly against Lincoln Memorial (11-4, 6-2 SAC), but were felled by a score of 85-78 Wednesday evening inside Stanford Arena.
The Lions opened the contest with an early three-pointer by Javonte Cook. Despite scoring the first basket of the game, the Lions conceded the next 11 points and 24 of the next 26 to find themselves down 24-5 with 7:36 played in the first half. Up by 11 at the time, Courvoisier McCauley scored back-to-back three-pointers and added a layup to score eight straight points for the Railsplitters to build the 19-point lead.
Coming out of the media timeout, Mars Hill reeled off nine straight points, led by Vernon Jackson's four, to pull within 10 with under 10 minutes left in the half. Two free throws from Anthony Brown slowed the Lions' momentum momentarily before Mars Hill scored four straight to cut the deficit to single digits.
The teams traded baskets down the stretch of the first half with Mars Hill entering the second half down by 10 by a score of 40-30.
Kamaran Calhoun scored 12 points in the half for the Railsplitters, going 3-of-4 from the floor and hitting all five free throw attempts while pulling down eight rebounds. McCauley finished the half with nine points.
Down by 11 with just over a minute played in the second half, Austin Stone scored five straight points for the Lions and was the catalyst for a 10-0 run to pull within one. A jump shot by Rhondi Hackett extended the lead to three, but on the ensuing Lions' possession, Powell was fouled on a three-point bid, sending him to the free throw line. Powell hit all three attempts to tie the game at 46-all with 4:02 elapsed in the half.
Alex Dahling and Stone traded three-pointers to keep the score tied at 49, but the Railsplitters were able to string together six straight points to once again reclaim the lead. Mars Hill responded by score six of the next nine to pull within three with 11:51 remaining.
Lincoln Memorial came out of a timeout with 11:27 left by scoring six of the next nine points to distance themselves further from Mars Hill. Mars Hill, showing their resiliency, cut the lead down to 67-63 with 6:28 remaining when Jackson knocked down a three-pointer. Less than a minute later, down by six, Jackson hit yet another three-pointer to pull the Lions within three.
The Lions continued their comeback bid, but clutch play by Calhoun and the Railsplitters held Mars Hill off long enough to escape with their 11th win of the season.
Calhoun ended the contest with a game-high 22 points and collected 10 rebounds for the lone double-double on the night. Hackett added 15 points, followed by McCauley's 14 and Dahling's 13 in the contest.
Jackson led the Lions with 16 points and eight rebounds in 22:43 of action. Powell ended the game with 15 points followed by Stone's 14.
Mars Hill returns to action when they square off against the South Atlantic Conference leading Queens Royals. Tipoff inside Stanford Arena is scheduled for 4 p.m.