Huntingdon, Ind. – Bryan picked up a win and took a loss as the Lions held on for an 83-80 decision against the Spartans of Missouri Baptist in their first game of the Huntington Classic and fell to the host team, Huntington University Foresters 82-97.
Midway through the second half the Spartans led by eight, but the Lions had different plans as they took control of the lead and maintained it until the buzzer sounded.
In the first half it looked as if Bryan decided the flow of the game, going up by 11 at one point, but Missouri Baptist countered with a 25-12 run to take a 40-38 lead into halftime.
The Lions began the second half with up-tempo play, and answered back by leveling the score 44-44. Both teams battled back and fourth as the contest featured nine ties and five lead changes. The Spartans produced a run to regain the lead 62-54 with 11 minutes left in the ballgame. Once again, Bryan rallied with a 14-6 run and Brandon Cole (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) scored the equalizer, making it 68-68. The Lions kept momentum as they took the lead and never looked back.
Cole led all scorers with 33 points (14-26), and two other Lions managed double-digit scoring: Oteriah Lee (SO/Knoxville, Tenn.) with 12 and Robert Troino (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) with 10. Lee went 4-7 from the floor, 1-2 behind the arc, and led the team in assists with eight. Troino helped the Lions from long distance finishing 3-9 behind the three-point line. Tyler Yoder (SO/Crossville, Tenn.) and Brice Cusick (SO/Jefferson City, Tenn.) both collected nine points, respectively, in aiding the Lion's offense.
In their second and last game of the Classic, the Lions faced a tough Huntington University team who found much success in the first day of the tournament, knocking off Moody Bible Institute (Ill.) 38-82. The Huntington Foresters entered the Classic having played three other games to start the season. The season opener ended with Huntington upsetting a team receiving votes. The following game they put up 72 points against the number one team in the nation. Just prior to the tourney the Foresters came within one point of upsetting the fifth ranked team.
The Lions tested the proven Foresters team early into the game after cutting into Huntington's lead and taking a 20-18 advantage. Both teams went back and fourth exchanging numerous lead changes, but the Foresters prevailed capturing the lead and taking it into halftime. The Lions went 12-30 in the first half, shooting 40% from the floor. The dagger came from the outside shooting by Huntington, as they drained seven long balls in the first half.
Unable to stop the Forester's attack, Huntington built a 32-54 lead in the first three minutes of the final period. After several runs by the Lion's team, Huntington managed to hold onto a double-digit lead and kept it for an 82-97 final.
Both teams saw high quality shooting as Huntington finished 56% from the floor compared to Bryan's notable 49%. Cole led all scorers once again, compiling a double-double with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Troino and Yoder helped the Lions finish 50% from the three-point line (11-22). Troino finished 4-6 from long range and snatched three boards. Yoder went 4-7 behind the arc and registered two rebounds. Cusick almost secured a double-double by scoring nine points and ten rebounds. Another Lion who ended with double-digit scoring was Lee with 11 points and team-high four assists. The Lions outrebounded the Foresters 38-23, but what hurt Bryan was their 19 turnovers compared to Huntington's seven.
The Lions continued their strong start to the season with their first home win last night as Johnson University (Tenn.) traveled to Summer's Gymnasium (Dayton, Tenn.) to face Bryan for the second time this year. In their first meeting the Lions rolled past the Johnson Royals 98-61. This time around both teams excelled on offense, but the Lions triumphed in a 102-92 victory.
Cole led the Lion's team with another stellar performance, collecting the double-double with 32 points and 19 rebounds. He ended the contest 10-18 and went 12-15 from the free throw line. Troino followed with 18 points, going 5-12 behind the arc. Jeff Long (SR/Hendersonville, Tenn.) and Cusick both scored 14 points apiece. Long grabbed five assists as Cusick aided the Lions with seven rebounds. Lee listed a team-high seven assists.
The Bryan College Lions Men's Basketball team move to 3-2 overall, and they hit the court tomorrow at home in their conference opener against No. 16 Union College Bulldogs (Ky.) set for 7:30pm.
For the full Bryan Lions Men's Basketball schedule, click here.