Due West, SC –Led by strong second half play, the North Greenville University men’s basketball team earned its first ever Conference Carolinas victory on Thursday night with a 82-78 overtime win over Erskine College.
The game got off to a rough start for North Greenville as Erskine opened the game on a 25-8 run in the opening 10 minutes of action. The Crusaders picked up their play and ended the half on a 20-7 run to go into the half down by only four points.
The second half of play proved to be the deciding factor as both teams traded baskets for much of the early portion.
North Greenville garnered a three-point lead with 16:01 remaining to build momentum late in the game. Erskine tied the game at 55-55 with 6:21 remaining in the contest and took a one-point lead with 4:59 to go after a three-pointer by Brandon Quarles (Landrum, S.C.).
Two key three-pointers by guard Jimmy Ellis sparked a Crusader comeback before Chris Dean hit a jumper to tie the game at 70-70 with 31 seconds remaining in regulation. A long three-pointer by Paul Harrison was missed, forcing the teams into an overtime period.
After the Flying Fleet hit a free throw and gained a one-point advantage, a jumper by Harrison and two free throws by Tim Franklin put North Greenville up by three with just over three minutes to play. Erskine then hit a free throw before a three-pointer by Zack Shields gave the Crusaders a five-point lead with 1:53 to go which they held on to until the end.
Due in large part to 18 second half points, Harrison led the Crusaders with 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor and a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with a season-high five blocks. The double-double is the forward’s third of the season and second in a row.
Dean had a career game after scoring 19 of his 26 points in the second half, while Ellis had another strong performance scoring 15 points off of the bench.
The Crusaders (5-3, 1-2 in conference) will look to put together back-to-back conference wins as they host St. Andrews University on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 4 p.m. in Hayes Gymnasium.