BELMONT, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (1-1) defeated Limestone (0-2) by a score of 90-77 to conclude the Hampton Inn by Hilton Tip Off Classic Saturday evening.
Leading 11-10 with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half, the Lions began to create some distance, going on a 6-0 run with three-pointers made by Austin Gilyard and Jamal Bryant. As the Saints closed the deficit to within three points under three minutes later, Mars Hill strung together 10 straight points to balloon their lead into double digits.
With under four minutes to play in the half, Limestone began a 12-0 run to pull within two points with 2:04 remaining. Following a Lions' 4-0 run, the Saints responded with six straight to tie the game in the closing seconds. At the buzzer, Nassyr Daniel hit a layup to send the Lions into the half with the 39-37 lead.
Gilyard and Bryant led the way offensively for the Lions with nine and eight points, respectively, while Daniel added six. Trey Belin chipped in eight in 11 minutes of first half action.
A balanced scoring attack paced the Lions in the second half as they outscored the Saints 51-40. Bryant had a team-high 12 points followed by nine from Matthew Powell. Gilyard and Daneil added eight apiece while Belin and Justen Hartfield chipped in six apiece.
With just under four minutes played in the second, the Lions went on a 10-2 run to build a 10-point advantage. Limestone cut the deficit to eight with 12:10 remaining, but a Powell layup was the catalyst for a Mars Hill 14-0 run that provided the Lions a 22-point lead with 7:39 to play.
The double-digit lead held for the remainder of the contest as the Lions earned their first win of the 2019-20 season.
Bryant led all players with 21 points and collected eight rebounds. Gilyard ended the contest with 18 points while Powell had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double. Daniel and Belin had 14 points apiece.
The Lions return to action on Wednesday, November 13 as they take on Middle Tennessee State in exhibition action. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.