The Tusculum Women's Basketball Team (17-8, 11-6) pulled into a second-place tie in the South Atlantic Conference standings with a 61-52 overtime victory over Lenoir-Rhyne (19-7, 11-6) Wednesday
evening at Pioneer Arena. Three players scored in double figures for the Pioneers, led by Alishia Mosley's (Cameron, N.C.) 15 points, as Tusculum defeated Lenoir-Rhyne for the sixth straight game.
The two squads are now tied for second place in the league standings and are one game behind Wingate and Catawba in the race for the conference regular season title.
Lenoir-Rhyne lost despite a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds from junior guard Whitley Culler (Mount Airy, N.C.). Senior guard Cameron Sealey (Mount Holly, N.C.) added 11 points for the Bears, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped.
Tusculum held a 27-21 advantage at halftime and stayed ahead through most of the second half before Lenoir-Rhyne took a 45-43 lead on lay-up by Sealey at the 5:05 mark of the second half.
The Pioneers tied at the contest at 47 and forced overtime with a lay-up courtesy of Staci Hicks (Loveland, Ohio) with 1:38 remaining. Hicks finished with 13 points on the evening. A Pioneer three-point attempt rimmed out with two seconds left and play was extended to overtime.
In the extra period, Culler hit a jump shot to give Lenoir-Rhyne a 50-49 lead with 1:54 left but Tusculum ended the contest on a 12-2 run. In addition, Mosley scored the Pioneers' first eight points in overtime.
Lenoir-Rhyne held a 43-39 edge in rebounds but was limited to just 30 percent shooting (18-of-60) for the game including one-for-14 (seven percent) from behind the three-point line.
In the latest NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Rankings, Lenoir-Rhyne is No. 6 while Tusculum is fifth. The top eight teams in each region earn a berth to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
For each teams' Senior Day on Saturday, Lenoir-Rhyne hosts league-rival Lincoln Memorial at 4:00 p.m., while Tusculum entertains Mars Hill in a conference contest beginning at 2:00 p.m.
TUSCULUM 61, LRU 52 (OT)
Score by Periods 1st 2nd OT Total
Lenoir-Rhyne.................. 21 26 5 - 52
Tusculum...................... 27 20 14 - 61
LRU: KATT 6 (6 REBOUNDS), CULLER 18 (10 REBOUNDS), BONGIORNO 8, SEALEY 11, LAUGHTER 6, PATTON 1, BRINKLEY 2. FG: 18-60, 3FG: 1-14, FT: 15-21. 43 REBOUNDS, 17 TURNOVERS, 10 ASSISTS.
TUSCULUM: AUGHBURNS 4 (10 REBOUNDS), HICKS 13, BAXTER 7, McCANN 12 (7 REBOUNDS, 4 ASSISTS), HAMMONTREE 3, MOSLEY 15, ANDERSON 7. FG: 24-55, 3FG: 5-16, FT: 8-15. 39 REBOUNDS, 20 TURNOVERS, 7 ASSISTS.
Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Basketball Falls At Tusculum
The Tusculum College Men's Basketball Team (10-15, 7-10) prevailed by a 70-54 score over Lenoir-Rhyne University (12-14, 8-9) in a South Atlantic Conference game Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena.
Tusculum's Kevin Vest (Dayton, Ohio) led all scorers with 23 points as the Pioneers built a 19-point lead in the first half and held off an L-R rally en route to the win.
Sophomore forward Allan Jones (Clemmons, N.C.) was the Bears' top scorer on the day as he finished with 21 points while senior forward D.J. Blackmon (Albemarle, N.C.) added 13 points as Lenoir-Rhyne suffered its third straight defeat.
A lay-up by Tommy Klempin (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) gave the Pioneers a 38-19 lead with 2:09 left in the first half and Tusculum entered intermission with a 38-22 advantage.
Lenoir-Rhyne, however, opened the second half with a 19-8 run capped off by a jump shot by Blackmon at the 12:54 mark to cut the margin to 46-41 but the Bears couldn't get any closer the rest of the way.
Tusculum's Justin Steigerwald (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Klempin added 13 and 12 points, respectively, and the Pioneers shot 56 percent (26-of-46) for the game in avenging an earlier loss to the Bears.
In the final regular season contests on Saturday, Lenoir-Rhyne hosts Lincoln Memorial (6:00 p.m.) while Tusculum remains at home to face Mars Hill beginning at 4:00 p.m.
TUSCULUM 70, LRU 54
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Lenoir-Rhyne.................. 22 32 - 54
Tusculum...................... 38 32 - 70
LRU: BLACKMON 13 (6 REBOUNDS), BEASLEY 4, JONES 21, DAVIS 7, McCLINTOCK 6, McKENZIE 3. FG: 18-45, 3FG: 3-12, FT: 15-17. 21 REBOUNDS, 13 TURNOVERS, 10 ASSISTS.
TUSCULUM: O'CONNER 1, KLEMPIN 12 (9 REBOUNDS), VEST 23, STEIGERWALD 13 (5 ASSISTS, 8 REBOUNDS), NICHOLAS SPINKS 8, NEAL SPINKS 6, CARTER 7 (4 ASSISTS). FG: 26-46, 3FG: 6-16, FT: 12-17. 29 REBOUNDS, 13 TURNOVERS. 15 ASSISTS.
Photo Courtesy: Whitley Culler, LRU Athletics