Hightower's 18 leads the Blue Hose
MARTIN BEATS THE BUZZER - And 2nd Weekend Win.
Chris Martin capped off an 11-5 run over the final two minutes with a layup with .2 seconds left to turn a four-point deficit to a two-point, 79-77, win for the Presbyterian College men’s basketball team over UNC Asheville in the Big South opener Thursday night at Templeton Center. Cory Hightower led the Blue Hose with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Scoring the game
A close battle in the first half, PC led by as much a six with just over 16 to play, helped in part by a game-opening three-pointer from Sean Jenkins and three points from Michael Isler. UNC Asheville used a 12-6 run, which included a couple of three-pointers from Tajion Jones, to knot the game at 14-14, 12:50 to go in the first half. A Coty Jude basket gave Asheville the two-point lead and ignited a back and forth battle over the next five minutes that saw four lead changes and three more ties, the last at 24-24, 5:22 on the clock, off a LJ Thorpe basket. The Blue Hose, ignited by a Kody Shubert three-pointer at 4:45, outscored the Bulldogs 9-5 to build a four-point, 33-29, lead at the break.
A layup and three-pointer by Zeb Graham in the opening minutes of the second half put the home team ahead by seven, 38-31. PC tied the game at 44-44 off a Shubert layup at 13:46. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-4 run to open up a seven-point lead with 12:36 left on the clock. Trailing by seven again at 48-55, PC rallied back with a three-pointer by Hightower and Martin as part of a 10-0 run to retake the lead, 58-56, 9:11 to go. Thorpe hit a free throw at 10:01 to end the drought for Asheville, but PC came back with 10 unanswered, including threes from Shubert and Martin to lead by seven, 63-56, 8:22 on the clock. Lavar Batts hit a three-pointer and a free throw to cut the margin to three at 7:48. It was the start of a 16-5 run, which saw the Bulldogs hit three-three-pointers and take a four-point, 72-68 lead, 2:17 to go. A layup and two free throws by PC knotted the game at 72-72, 1:51 on the clock, but Jude hit his third three-pointer of the game to make it a three-point game again, 1:35 left. PC responded with three free throws and a layup to go up by two, 12 seconds left, but Batts hit a layup with four on the clock to tie the game. Martin got the inbounds pass and drove up the court, laying in the ball with .2 seconds left to give PC the win, 79-77.
Players of the Game
Cory Hightower led the Blue Hose with 18 points and eight rebounds, with Zeb Graham finishing with a career-high 13 points, along with Chris Martin. Tajion Jones led Asheville with 21 points, off a seven-of-12 effort from beyond the arc.
Stats of the Game
The Blue Hose shot 56.0% in the first half and held the Bulldogs to 32.3. PC only improved in the second half, going 18-of-24 for 75.0%, to end the game with 65.3%. Asheville shot well in the second at 61.5% to finish the game with 45.6%. The Blue Hose held the 30-22 advantage in rebounds, and had eight more turnovers, 21-13. PC hit nine free throws, to Asheville’s 13. Three-pointers were controlled by the Bulldogs, 12-6.
For the Record
PC improves to 4-10 overall and 1-0 in the Big South, while UNC Asheville’s record drops to 6-6, 0-1.
The team’s 65.3 field goal percentage (32-49) ranked second in the PC Division I record book. The current record is 68.3% (28-41) set in 2015 against Campbell.
Zeb Graham’s 13 points, five assists, and 11 field goal attempts were career-highs.
Blue Hose Earn Hard-Fought Road Win at Gardner-Webb
CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College men’s basketball team pulled down 52 rebounds, including 36 on the defensive end, to hold Gardner-Webb to just 10 second chance points and come away with the 68-62 Big South win on the road Saturday afternoon in Boiling Springs, N.C. Cory Hightower led the scoring with 12 points, and also added 10 rebounds. Ben Drake, who posted 10 points, pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds in the winning effort. The 2-0 league record marks the best start for PC in its Division I history.
Scoring the game
There were five three-pointers in the opening six minutes, with three coming from the Blue Hose to give the visitors a four-point, 12-8 lead at the 13:53 mark. Nate Johnson’s three-pointer, his second of the game, cut the lead to one, with back to back free throws less than a minute later putting the Runnin’ Bulldogs ahead, 13-12, 12:42 left before the break. A couple of free throws and two baskets, helped PC retake the four-point 18-14 lead, just under two minutes later. With both teams trading baskets, the Blue Hose were unable to get past a four-point margin down the stretch, the final time at 1:56, with a Kody Shubert three-pointers and two Chris Martin free throws erasing a GWU one-point lead and putting the visitors back in front, 27-23. Gardner-Webb would hit two free throws in the final two minutes, trimming the PC lead to two, 27-25, at the break.
PC, with the help of six points from Shubert, outscored Gardner-Webb, 14-7, the opening seven and a half minutes of the second half to build an 11-point, 43-32. The home team responded with a 14-4 run to cut the margin down to one, 46-47, just under nine to play. Back to back PC free throws and a Cory Hightower basket made it a five-point game, before Jaheam Cornwall hit two three-pointers over a forty second span to help cut the margin to just one, 52-53, 5:37 left. Cornwall added three free throws a minute later and PC and Gardner-Webb were knotted at 55-55. The Blue Hose answered with four free throws and a layup to push the lead back to five, 2:14 to play. Gardner-Webb would cut the margin to three off a couple of free throws under two to play, but that would be as close as the Runnin’ Bulldogs would get as Martin posted a layup at the one-minute mark, and JC Younger and Zeb Graham hit clutch free throws to keep the Blue Hose ahead at the end, 68-62.
Players of the Game
Cory Hightower recorded a team-leading 12 points, and 10 rebounds for his fifth career double-double. Ben Drake added 10 points and a team-leading and career-high 16 rebounds. Nate Johnson led GWU with 19 points, with Eric Jamison, Jr., pacing the team on the boards with eight.
Stats of the Game
PC shot 36.4% for the game, with Gardner-Webb hitting just 28.8%. PC led in rebounds with a 52-36 advantage and had four more turnovers, 18-14. Free throws were tight with PC hitting three more, 22-of-27, to 19-of-27.
For the Record
PC improves to 5-10 overall and 2-0 in the Big South, while Gardner-Webb’s record drops to 5-9, 1-1.
PC’s 2-0 league record is the best in its Division I history.
Ben Drake’s career-high 16 rebounds tied for fifth in the PC DI record book.
The team’s 52 rebounds tied for sixth in the PC DI record book.
The Blue Hose are off for a week, returning to action at home Saturday, Jan. 11, against High Point. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m.