Bristol, TN—Justin Dotson scored 18 off the bench for the Crusaders while Matt Moore added 17-points but NGU men’s basketball suffered its first loss of the season as King escaped a late surge by NGU to earn a 71-67 win.
The Crusaders surged out of the gate to take an 8-0 lead early in the first half but the Tornado, the pre-season favorite to win the Conference Carolinas championship surged late in the opening frame to 39-28 lead into halftime.
The Crusaders shot just over 30-percent in the opening frame while the Tornado shot a touch better at 37-percent. Dotson led the first half charge with six points while Matt Moore and Miguel Cartegena added five points each.
The Tornado remained in control until the 10:21 mark in the second half when NGU took its first lead since the early goings of the first period. Matt Moore would give NGU a two-point lead with a three pointer that made the score 52-50. A Dotson layup would extend the lead to four points with 9:55 left in the game.
NGU would hold a 67-64 lead with 2:53 remaining when another three-pointer from Moore broke a tie at 64. The Crusaders would continue to lead until a three from the Tornado gave them a 69-67 win with just over a minute left in the game. Both teams would go scoreless in the final minutes until a pair of free throws from King put the game on ice for the conference favorites.
The loss was the first of the season for NGU which now sits at 4-1 overall and 0-1 in league play. The Crusaders will enjoy a few days off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday before returning to Tigerville to host Limestone College on November 29th, a game that will be televised by WMYA out of Asheville.