MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (5-3) defeated Erskine (2-4) in non-conference play by a final of 87-65 on Education Day inside Stanford Arena Wednesday afternoon.
The Lions found themselves down 4-0 early in the contest and would trail until the 5:14 mark before a made three-pointer from Cook gave Mars Hill their first lead of the night, going up by a 7-6 score. Despite taking the lead, Mars Hill conceded six straight points to find themselves down by five with under 10 minutes remaining in the half. Cook responded for the Lions, scoring five straight points to pull within one.
With 6:05 remaining in the frame, Brooks knocked down a three-pointer to give Mars Hill a 16-14 lead. The Lions never trailed for the remainder of the contest. Leading 19-18, Mars Hill reeled off nine straight points to take a double-digit lead. They maintained that advantage until the buzzer sounded to end the first half.
Cook (17) and Brooks (14) combined for 31 of the Lions' 35 first half points. Both players were 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and hit their seven combined free throws. Jaywaun Washington had led Erskine with eight points at the half.
Mars Hill continued to push the pace offensively and started the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 22 point lead. The Lions ballooned their lead up to 29 points at the 7:23 mark of the second with a made three-pointer by Justen Hartfield. Mars Hill maintained a 20-plus point lead until a 7-0 run from the Flying Fleet with less than 10 minutes remaining brought the lead down to 18 points. With 5:11, Erskine pulled within 16, however, Mars Hill's accurate shooters continued to score and bring the lead back to up over 20 points. The Lions closed out the Flying Fleet by 22 points, winning their fifth game of the season by a score of 87-65.
Erskine shot 40 percent from the floor in the second half and 33.8 percent for the game. Mars Hill shot 60 percent in the second half and finished the contest shooting 50.8 percent from the floor. The Lions shot over 50 percent from beyond the arc compared to the Flying Fleet's 21.7 percent.
Jordan Watson had 12 second half points and ended the game leading Erskine with 14 total. Austin Venable added 11 and a team-high six rebounds.
Brooks finished the contest with 28 points and nine rebounds while adding two assists and steals apiece. Cook collected a double-double with 23 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Chris Barnette chipped in eight points and David Elkins led all players with five assists.
Mars Hill returns to South Atlantic Conference play on Saturday, December 15 when they take on Catawba. The road contest is set for a 4 p.m. tipoff.