Monday, January 16, 2012

Gaffney, SC – Led by a late first half surge, the North Greenville University men’s basketball team edged out a 75-71 victory over Limestone College on Monday night.

The Crusaders and Saints were neck and neck for the early part of the game until Limestone gained a 29-24 edge, their biggest lead of the first half with 3:36 left in the opening period.

However, back-to-back three-pointers by Zack Shields put the Crusaders up by two with 2:46 left until the break. Crusaders ended the half on a 9-1 run to go into halftime up by a score of 35-30.

The Crusaders held their lead for much of the early part of the second half until Limestone nailed a jumper with 7:08 left in the game to take a one-point lead.

After that point both teams traded baskets with neither side gaining a significant edge until two free throws by Paul Harrison with just under a minute left gave the Crusaders a lead they were able to hold on to. Chris Dean hit two late free throws with just seconds left to seal the victory for North Greenville.

Thanks in large part to an 11-point, 14-rebound first half, Harrison, who is now just four points away from becoming North Greenville’s all-time leading scorer,  led the Crusaders with 19 points and 17 rebounds, his seventh double-double of the season. Dean also recorded 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor in addition to six rebounds.

Shields continued to provide a spark off of the bench as he poured in 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from three-point range, while Tim Franklin recorded seven points and a season-high 11 assists with four steals.

"We didn't shoot as well from the field as we would have like but our team was great on the boards and hustle plays," said head coach Chad Lister. "Our defensive execution in the final minute was fantastic and out resiliancy from a tough loss at Queens was evident tonight."

The Crusaders (8-5, 3-3 in conference) will begin a four-game homestand on Wednesday, Jan. 18 as they play host to Lees-McRae College at 7:30 p.m. in Hayes Gymnasium.