MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (6-4, 1-2 SAC) defeated Carson-Newman (6-4, 1-4 SAC) for the second straight year inside Stanford Arena by a score of 87-74 Wednesday night.
Mars Hill entered the second half with a 38-26 advantage and would build their lead over the first 4:31 to as many as 22 points. Trailing 53-31, Carson-Newman began their comeback bid by going on a 12-2 run to pull within 12 points. Reece Anderson, who scored all 23 of his points in the second half, had six points in that stretch, all from converted free throws. A layup from Javonte Cook would put slow the Eagles' down momentarily before two Anderson free throws were the catalyst for another lengthy run by the Eagles, 8-1 to pull within seven points.
The Lions would keep the charging Eagles at bay, holding them to a minimum deficit of seven for the remainder of the contest. With 3:02 remaining in the game, Mars Hill would string together five straight points to once again rebuild their double-digit lead. A trade off of fouls down the stretch sent the Lions to the free throw line where Ja'Shawn Brooks would score six points from the free throw line to finish the game with 23 points, tied with Anderson for most by any player in the contest.
Mars Hill pushed the pace of the contest in the opening five minutes, jumping out to an 8-3 lead. They built their lead to 13-7 with 12:51 remaining in the half, but the Eagles reeled of seven straight points to take their second and final lead of the contest. The lead was short-lived as the Lions scored 11 straight points with Brooks scoring nine in the run. Mars Hill maintained a double-digit lead for a majority of the remaining 10 minutes of the half and enter halftime with a 38-26 lead.
Mason Bates led the Eagles with 10 points, shooting 5-of-7 from the field. Parker Rolé added six points. Brooks scored 13 of this 23 in the first half and collected five rebounds. Dotson Griffin scored seven and added seven rebounds.
Bates and Rolé each scored 12 points in the contest while Grant Teichmann added 10. Griffin had his best outing of the season, scoring 14 points and pulling down 11 rebounds for the double-double. Cook had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Both Griffin and Cook led all players with three offensive rebounds.
Mars Hill possessed the advantage in shooting percentage (43.9), three-point percentage (50) and free throw percentage (72.4) which led them to their first South Atlantic Conference win of the season. The Lions also outrebounded Carson-Newman 49-33, including a 14-4 edge in offensive rebounds.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, January 5th inside Stanford Arena when they take on Wingate. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.