Dayton, Tenn. – The Bryan College Lions Men's Basketball team continued where they left off in 2015, breezing past the Knights of St. Andrews University (N.C.) today in Appalachian Athletic Conference play 95-71.
The Lions picked up a 97-81 victory over Hiwassee College (Tenn.) just before the Christmas break, and they didn't skip a beat today as they were led by the AAC scoring leader Brandon Cole (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) and 6'8'' big-man Brice Cusick (SO/Jefferson City, Tenn.), both compiling double-doubles in the conference matchup. The Lions move to 8-6 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Cole led the pack with 29 points (11-for-23) and a team-high 18 rebounds. He is averaging an impressive 29.6 points per game, the highest of any other player in the AAC. He remains the total scoring leader, totaling 444 points so far this season, leading the player in 2nd position by 156 points. Today was a good example of Cole's dominating work on the glass, as he currently is the AAC individual stats leader in total rebounds (163) and rebounds per game (10.87). He is shooting 55 percent from the floor this season.
Cusick notched his first career double-double today, finishing 5-for-9 (3-for-5 from three-point line) for 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Tyler Yoder (SO/Crossville, Tenn.) also ended the contest with 13 points, going 4-for-6 and a perfect 3-for-3 behind the arc. The only other Lion to finish in double-digit scoring was Reagan Johnson (SO/Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) who caught fire from downtown, knocking down 4-for-6 from long range for 12 points. Robert Troino (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) added eight points (3-for-9) and Jeff Long (SR/Hendersonville, Tenn.) followed with seven points (2-for-6). Oteriah Lee (SO/Knoxville, Tenn.) led the Lions in assists, dishing out seven and dropping five points. Zack Chaykowsky (SO/Morganfield, Ky.) got on the board with four points, while Terrance Scales (SO/Cedar Bluff, Ala.) and Caleb Hayes (FR/Clinton, Tenn.) both ended with two points, respectively.
The Lions dealt their damage from the three-point line, going up 57-35 at the half after an unbelievable 11-for-13 behind the arc in the first half. Bryan was able to scoop up any misses, outrebounding St. Andrews 52-25.
Taking turns from long range, both teams were leveled 13-13 to start the first half. After a bucket from the Knights to give them a lead, it was short-lived as the Lion's Cusick stepped up and drained back-to-back three's as Bryan created a 16-0 run. Cusick ended the run with a three-pointer, giving the Lions a comfortable 29-15 lead.
With just over six minutes left to play in the first half, the Knights kept the Lion's lead to 14. Bryan slowly built onto their lead until the four-minute mark when Johnson nailed two three-pointers and Yoder sank a shot from downtown to give the Lions a 54-29 lead. The Knight's Titus Gary countered with a three-pointer of his own, but Yoder answered back with another. Gary gave the Knights the last points of the half, hitting another three-pointer, but Bryan carried a 57-35 lead into the break.
St. Andrews opened the second half with a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 15, but the Lions scored six straight points to bump the lead back over 20, four points coming from Cole in the paint. Minutes later Troino, Johnson, and Long all connected behind the three-point line to give the Lions their largest lead of the game up to that point, 76-49. Bryan managed to carry the lead to 30 after Lee's three-point play, 88-58, with less than five minutes left to play. The overwhelming lead proved too much for St. Andrews as Bryan took a 95-71 win.
After picking up a conference win to start off the new year, Head Bryan Men's Basketball Coach, Don Rekoske said, "I felt we were very good offensively. We were able to handle a good St. Andrews team by shooting well and getting on the glass. We have won four of our last five games, and I like the direction our team is going."
The Lions have an AAC-packed week ahead, picking up play on Monday (Jan. 4th) against Point University (Ga.) and on Thursday (Jan. 7th) against Milligan College (Tenn.). Both are road games and tipoff times are set for 7:30pm. On Saturday (Jan. 9th) Bryan hosts Montreat College (N.C.) at 4:00pm.
For the full Bryan Lions Men's Basketball schedule, click here.