Tigerville, SC – Despite a mighty comeback late in the second half, the North Greenville University men’s basketball team fell to Limestone College 77-73 on Tuesday night in Hayes Gymnasium.
With the loss North Greenville drops to 5-10 in Conference Carolinas’ play while Limestone moves to 5-9. The Crusaders are now in ninth place overall, just one place out of playoff contention behind the Saints.
The first half of action was back-and-forth with North Greenville gaining a five-point advantage with 10:37 to play before Limestone picked up the momentum. The Saints ended the half on a 16-11 run to go into the break up 38-28.
The Crusaders made necessary adjustments in the locker room and began the second half on a mission. The battled continued as North Greenville tied the game at 72-72 with just 23 seconds left on the clock. Chris Dean put the Crusaders up by one with a late-game free throw giving Limestone the ball with time left to make a play.
The Saints used their strong outside shooting to hit a clutch three-pointer with nine seconds to go.
The Crusaders had a chance to win the game late but a jumper by Paul Harrison fell short forcing North Greenville to send Limestone to the foul line. The Saints made both free throws to secure the four-point win.
“It was a valiant effort from out team in the second half,” said head coach Chad Lister. “Chris Dean hits two big free throws in the last 20 seconds and Limestone hits a big shot when we did not. “
Dean led the charge for North Greenville with a game-high 26 points, while Harrison recorded his 14th double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Wray was the only other Crusader in double figures finishing with 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the floor and seven rebounds.
“The loss stings but we still have a lot to play for,” said Lister. “Our team continues to overcome injuries and battles and for that I am proud of them.”
The Crusaders (11-12, 5-10 in conference) have a non-conference game on Feb. 16 in Charlotte, NC against Johnson & Wales beginning at 7 p.m.