MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team dropped a tightly fought contest, 78-71, to North Greenville Saturday afternoon.
North Greenville's pressing defense forced the Lions to make 15 turnovers in the first half. The Crusaders carried an 8-3 lead and would go on a 10-7 run to build up an eight point lead midway through the half. Mars Hill roared back to take eight of the next 10 points to pull within two points.
Down the final stretch, the teams continued to trade the lead until the final play of the first half. Nassyr Daniel's layup with less than five seconds remaining gave the Lions a 31-30 lead heading into halftime.
Charles Moore led the Lions with nine points in the first half, going 6-6 from the free throw line. Daniel had nine rebounds, five points and three blocks in 17 minutes of play.
Luke Van-Rijn opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers in the first minute. A bucket by Matt Moore pulled the Crusaders within five, but Mars Hill's Bennett Wilson answered back with a layup to give the Lions a seven point lead. Mars Hill would go a 13-4 run in the first three minutes of play in the second frame to take a 44-34 lead.
The Crusaders, led by Tommy Wade's seven points, would go an 11-2 run to cut the lead down to one for the Lions. Justen Hartfield would bump the lead back up to four, but two consecutive layups by North Greenville evened the contest with 12:56 remaining.
Jalon Cokley's jumper with 12:16 left in the contest would give the Crusaders the lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the time.
Leading 64-61, Wade would go on to score the Crusaders next 11 points and help them secure the 78-71 victory. He led all scorers with 25 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Cokley added 17 points from the bench. Daniko Jackson had six assists for North Greenville while Daniel Burchette led the team with eight rebounds.
Moore led the Lions with 13 points, going 8-8 from the free throw line. He, along with Matthew Powell, had a team-high four assists. Daniel had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lions fall to 1-3 while the Crusaders improve to 3-1.
Mars Hill returns to Tuesday, November 21 where they take on Winthrop at 11 a.m.