Banner Elk, NC – The Crusader win streak was extended to four in a row with a 117-108 overtime victory over Bluefield State College on Friday night in the first game of the Lees McRae Classic.
North Greenville opened the game with back-to-back three pointers to take an early lead, however neither team was able to gain a decisive edge until a three-pointer by freshman Thomas Horn put the Crusaders ahead by 12 with just over four minutes to play in the opening half. The Crusaders held on to carry a slim 46-42 lead into the intermission.
Bluefield opened the second half on a high note, taking the lead after a short 7-0 run in the first two minutes of play.
The Crusaders built their lead to as large at 16 points with just under 12 minutes remaining. The Blues continued to battle with the North Greenville lead eventually disappearing with less than a minute remaining as Bluefield took a two-point lead with just four second left in regulation.
A costly foul by Bluefield’s Treon Claiborne sent Horn to the free throw line where he knocked down both shots to send the game into over tied at 101 points apiece.
North Greenville quickly claimed the lead in extra time with a 10-3 run in the first two minutes of play to build a seven-point lead on the scoreboard. Key free throws by Keith Johnson, Chris Dean and Phillip Brown sealed the Crusaders’ second straight overtime victory.
Brown recorded his second straight double-double with a career-high 29 points on 10-for-17 shooting with 15 rebounds and two blocks, while fellow junior Micah Parker led all-scorers with 30 points, including a 14-for-19 performance from the free throw line, and seven rebounds in 34 minutes of action.
Johnson had another strong game, finishing 6-for-10 from the field for 21 points and seven rebounds as Dean rounded out the double-digit scorers for North Greenville with 15 points and seven rebounds. Junior Patrick George totaled six points and a game-high six assists in 32 minutes off of the bench.
The Crusaders (4-2, 1-0 Conference Carolinas) will put their streak on the line tomorrow, Nov. 23 against Francis Marion University at 2 p.m.