Tigerville, SC – In their final home game of the 2014 season, the North Greenville University men’s basketball team dropped a tightly contested 77-75 decision to King University on Tuesday night in Hayes Gymnasium.
The Tornado jumped out to an early lead that they extended to as much as 14 points with 2:25 left to play in the first half before carrying a 46-37 lead into intermission.
King’s lead continued late into the second half of play until the Crusaders closed to within one point in the final five minutes of action.
North Greenville continued to battle, tying the game at 74-74 on a jumper by senior Keith Johnson, followed by a free throw to take the one-point lead with 36 seconds remaining. Two free throws by King’s Logan Lyle with 4 seconds remaining sealed the win as a runner by Johnson fell just short as time expired.
Johnson led all scorers with a game-high 20 points, including going a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line with seven rebounds and five assists. Fellow senior Chris Dean totaled 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor, while junior Phillip Brown narrowly missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Freshman forward Jai Jencks put together his best game as a Crusader, scoring 11 points with a career-high 10 rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
The Crusaders (14-13, 7-9 Conference Carolinas) will now turn their focus to the postseason as they compete in the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Saturday, March 1. The Crusaders are still awaiting their fate as they wait to learn if they play Barton College or King University. More information to follow in the coming days.