|Dec. 15, 2016|
|Hiwassee College||Indv. Leaders||Bryan College|
|#24 Graves - 22||Points||#21 Reagan Johnson - 22|
|#13 Jackson - 6||Rebounds||#24 Brice Cusick - 12|
|2 Players (#23,#24,#11,#12,#15) - 1||Assists||2 Players (#10,#33) - 4|
|Hiwassee College||Team Statistics||Bryan College|
|42.6% (29 - 68)||Field Goals %||44.8% (26 - 58)|
|40.9% (9 - 22)||3 Point Field Goals %||40.7% (11 - 27)|
|72.7% (8 - 11)||Free Throws||63.6% (14 - 22)|
|11||2nd Chance Pts||21|
Dayton, Tenn. – In the last home game of the 2016 Fall Semester, the Bryan Lions Men's Basketball team was able to provide an answer to Hiwassee College (Tenn.) after falling to the Tigers earlier in the season by a last second three-pointer, 81-78. It was another close battle on the hardwood Thursday night, but it was the Lions who came out on top this time around with a 77-75 final, improving their overall record to 3-11 and dropping Hiwassee to 6-3 overall. The Lions have now won two of their last three contests, dropping Johnson University (Tenn.) at home on Dec. 6 107-92.
Hiwassee struggled to stop Bryan's leading scorer Reagan Johnson (JR/Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) who pieced together 22 points after shooting 6-of-12 from the floor, 4-of-10 from deep, and a perfect 6-of-6 at the foul line. Brice Cusick (JR/Jefferson City, Tenn.) had a notable performance as he collected his third double-double of the season, tying him for fourth in the Appalachian Athletic Conference in total double-doubles, which came from 20 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. The big man was 9-of-12 shooting and knocked down a pair of looks behind the arc. He also tallied all of Bryan's three blocks in the outing. Caleb Tuck (SR/Dickson, Tenn.) and Madison "Birdman" McKamey directed the team from the point guard position. Tuck was the only other Lion to notch double-digit scoring with 11 points going 4-of-8, and McKamey led dished out a game-high four assists along with chipping in six points coming from two treys. Wray Fuller (JR/Jackson, Tenn.) was only 1-of-8 shooting, but he did his damage at the free throw line connecting on 6-of-7, giving him eight points.
A 42-28 advantage at the break by the Lions proved too much of an edge despite the Tigers rallying for a 47-35 second half effort. Bryan gained the lead after the opening tip and never surrendered it for the duration of the game. The Lions narrowly won the battle of the boards 36-35 and finished slightly ahead of the Tigers in shooting percentage with 44.8 percent compared to their 42.6 percent. Both teams were leveled at 40 percent from three-point territory. Even though Bryan had a lower free throw percentage, the Lions went to the foul line 17 times in the closing half and made 10 to help seal the win while the Tigers took 11 total all night. Hiwassee bettered Bryan by holding their turnovers to 15 and forcing the Lions into 20 turnovers.
Bryan jumped ahead to an early 18-9 lead and managed to lead by double-digits with a five-point swing by a basket from Riley Dempsey (SO/Dunlap, Tenn.), a jumper from Fuller, and a free throw by Fuller to make the score 31-21 with just under seven minutes to go in the opening period. The Lions created more separation in the final minutes before halftime with a 7-0 run, bringing the score to 42-26. The Tigers added one more bucket before the time ran out for a 42-28 count at the break.
The Lions continued to dominate to begin the second half, but seven minutes in the Tigers sparked a run, turning an 11-point deficit to three points with nine minutes to go. With four minutes remaining, Bryan found themselves still in the lead and a second-chance basket by Cusick and three points by Tuck gave the Lions an eight-point advantage with two and a half minutes left. Hiwassee countered with an easy two points followed by a dagger from downtown, bringing the score to 74-71. In need of a basket to stop Hiwassee's momentum, the ball was fed to Cusick underneath who used his large frame to produce two points for the Lions for a 76-71 lead. A successful shot by the Tigers made it a one-possession game with one minute on the clock, 76-73. Bryan was unable to score on their end of the floor, and Hiwassee capitalized on the opposite side to slim the margin to one-point, 76-75, with 30 seconds in the game. After the Lions inbounded the ball, the Tigers used a foul to send Bryan to the foul line in order to stop the clock and get one more shot attempt. The Lions put in one of the double-bonus free throws, going ahead 77-75, which allowed the Tigers 12 seconds for a look. After a timeout by Hiwassee, they made a play for their shooter No. 24 Daniel Graves who had already gone 6-of-13 from long range. Graves rubbed off two screens and put up the shot from the top of the arc, and Tuck snagged the miss as the ball rimmed out, giving way to a 77-75 win for Bryan.
After the new year starts, the Lions return home for a conference meeting against the Skyhawks of Point University (Ga.) on Jan. 3 with tipoff slated for 7:30pm in Summers Gymnasium.
For the full Bryan Lions Men's Basketball schedule, click here.