MARS HILL, N.C. – Vernon Jackson poured in a game-high 26 points and all five starters scored in double-figures as the Mars Hill men's basketball team posted a dominant 107-80 win over Warren Wilson on Saturday afternoon. Luke Van-Rijn collected career-highs with 23 points and 11 boards, while Valentin Bauer added his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 assists. The Lions improve to 2-2 overall while Warren Wilson drops to 3-3.
Brandon Watkins nearly missed a double-double, chipping in 13 points and nine boards and Bennett Wilson added 11 in the win. Cody Hylton and Justin Hartfield added 11 and seven points off the bench, respectively.
The Lions jumped out to a quick 9-2 advantage following a three from Van-Rijn, but nine straight from the Owls gave Warren Wilson its first lead of the contest. With the score deadlocked at 13-all, Van-Rijn drained another long shot, sparking a 9-0 run by MHU. The lead grew to 38-21 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Jackson with just under eight minutes left to play in the first half.
However, Warren Wilson used a 15-6 run to narrow the margin to single digits (44-36) with two minutes left before halftime. Great defense and solid execution on the offensive end sent the Lions into the half with a 49-37 lead.
Van-Rijn led all scorers in the first half with 14, including 4-of-6 from downtown. As a team, mars Hill shot a blistering 52.9% (18-34) from the field over the first 20 minutes, while holding Warren Wilson to 36.1% (13-36). Watkins added nine points and seven rebounds for the Lions' first half.
Mars Hill gained its biggest lead of the game at 65-46 just over four minutes into the second half. An acrobatic layup by Wilson followed by a thunderous dunk from Watkins and yet another triple from Van-Rijn sent the Lion bench into a frenzy.
The Lions were not done there, building their lead to 71-46 at the 12:58 mark. From that point the Blue and Gold fed off the energy of the crowd and completely blew the game open, ballooning the lead to as much as 36 points (98-62) and cruising to an easy 107-80 victory.
For the game Mars Hill shot 56.7% (38-67), including 11-of-24 from long range. The Lions defense held the Owls to 25-for-70 from the floor (35.7%) and a season-low 16% (5-30) from distance. Mars Hill held the advantage on the boards 43-38 and tallied 23 assists to Warren Wilson's 11.
The Lions will return to action on Tuesday, November 22, opening South Atlantic Conference play as they host Anderson University. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.