ANDERSON, S.C. – The Lions' lost a hard fought battle at Anderson 82-77 in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action in the Abney Athletic Center. Mars Hill trailed by as many as 19 points with just over eight minutes left in regulation in the contest and had a chance to win the game in the final minute of play but fell short. The Lions fell to 4-15 overall and 2-11 in the league. The Trojans improved to 8-11 on the season, 6-7 in the SAC.
Vernon Jackson came off the bench to score 18 points and pull down eight rebounds to lead the Lions offensively. Collin Hartman added 13 points while Dotson Griffin and Brandon Watkins tallied 10 points apiece. The Lions connected on 44.4% (28-63) from the floor, and won the battle of the boards against Anderson, 38-35. Mars Hill had balanced scoring receiving 39 points from their bench.
Andrew Boynton led the Trojans with 16 points followed by Christian Jeffords with 15 markers. Shawn Benard and Jeremy Bouton rounded out the double-digit scorers for Anderson with 13 points apiece. The Trojans hit 50.9% (28-55) of their field goal attempts and 50% (9-18) and of their three-point shots.
Anderson jumped out to a 10-5 lead with 16:29 left in the first half after Maurice Howard hit a shot at the foul line. The Lions then scored five unanswered points, capped off by a three-pointer from Brandon Watkins, to knot the game at 10-all with 15:24 left in the first period. The Lions then outscored the Trojans 8-3 over the next four minutes of play to take a 18-13 advantage with 11:06 left in the first frame after Grant Clarke scored inside off a fast break. Anderson answered scoring 14 unanswered points to enjoy a nine-point lead (27-18) with 5:48 left in the first half after Christian Jeffords converted an old-fashioned three-point play. The Trojans led by as many 13 points (26-39) with 1:44 on the clock after Andrew Boynton hit a shot from behind the arc. The teams went into the locker room at the intermission with the Trojans holding a 43-31 lead.
Mars Hill trimmed the deficit to just six points (50-44) with 17:08 left in the second half after Valentin Bauer converted a traditional three-point-play. Anderson went on a 24-11 run to take their largest lead of 19 points (74-55) with 8:22 remaining in regulation after Jeffords hit a shot from behind the arc. The Lions would not die and went on a 22-5 run to cut the Trojans lead to just two points (79-77) with 57 ticks left in the contest. Mars Hill was unable to convert on their next two possessions and Anderson held on for the five point victory.
Mars Hill will host SAC rival Catawba on Saturday, January 28, in Stanford Arena. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.