GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Mars Hill lost to SAC rival Tusculum, 113-78 Wednesday night in Pioneer Arena. The Lions fell to 5-22 overall and 3-18 in the conference. Tusculum improved to 12-15 on the season, 9-12 in the SAC.
Bennett Wilson and Cody Hylton came off the bench to score 15 and 12 points in the game, respectively. Hylton was 4-8 from three-point range. Makyle Wilkerson tallied 10 points and six rebounds. Justin Hartfield, Andrew Barber and Dotson Griffin tallied nine points apiece. Mars Hill shot 43.1% (28-65) from the floor, 41.7% (10-24) from three-point range and 50% (12-24) from the foul line.
Kendall Patterson led the Pioneers with 31 points. He hit eight-of-10 three-point of his three-point attempts in the contest. Ronnie Baylark followed with 25 points. He was 5-6 from behind the arc. As a team, Tusculum hit 57.1% (40-70) of their field goal attempts, 68.8% (22-32) of their three-pointers and 73.3% (11-15) of their free throws. Tusculum won the battle of the boards, 40-36.
After Luke Van-Rijn tied the game at 3-3 with 19:32 on the clock by making a three-pointer, Tusculum went on a 16-2 run to lead 19-5 with 15:33 left in the first half after Patterson hit a three-pointer. A successful shot by Indiana Rotondo from behind the arc cut the deficit to nine points (19-10) with 14:17 left in the opening half. From that point the Pioneers closed out the first half outscoring the Lions 43-22 to take a 62-32 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Extremely hot shooting by the Pioneers in the first half sealed the Lions fate. In the first period, Tusculum hit 67.6% (23-34) of their shots from the floor and 87.5% (14-16) of their three-point attempts. The Pioneers hit their first 10 attempts from behind the arc. Patterson scored 24 first half points hitting seven-of-eight three-point shots.
An old fashioned three point play by Barber with 17:29 left in the second half trimmed the Pioneers' lead to 24 points (64-40) but that was as close as the Lions would get. Tusculum continued their hot shooting in the second frame and led by as many as 38 points (102-64) with 4:10 left in regulation after Baylark scored inside.
Mars Hill will host SAC foe Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday, February 25, on Senior Day for the Lions. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.