Waleska, Ga. – Despite coming up short in their second meeting this season with fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference opponent, Reinhardt University, the Bryan College Lions Men's Basketball team prevented the Eagles from soaring away with a victory after battling them to the very end where the home team prevailed 82-80 in an extremely close contest. The loss for the Lions dropped them to 4-14 overall and 1-9 in conference play, while the Eagles improved their overall record to 13-5 and AAC record to 7-4, which puts them neck-and-neck with three other teams for the No. 2 spot in conference (Montreat- 7-3 AAC, 14-3 overall, Tennessee Wesleyan- 7-4 AAC, 11-6 overall, Bluefield- 7-4 AAC, 10-11 overall).
For the game, the Lions outshot the Eagles 49.2 percent compared to their 45.0 percent. Bryan was more efficient from three-point territory, 12-of-25, while Reinhardt connected 13-of-31. The Lions forced the Eagles into one more turnover, 17-16, but the rebounds went Reinhardt's way 37-28.
Four Lions produced double-digits scoring: Oteriah Lee (JR/Knoxville, Tenn.) led with 20 points (8-of-12, 2-of-2 behind the arc), Tyler Yoder (JR/Crossville, Tenn.) followed with 19 points (7-of-15, 4-of-9 behind the arc), Brice Cusick (JR/Jefferson City, Tenn.) totaled 17 points (7-of-14, 3-of-6 behind the arc), and Reagan Johnson (JR/Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) compiled 11 points (4-of-10, 3-of-8 behind the arc). Caleb Tuck (SR/Dickson, Tenn.) aided with five points and four rebounds, as well as Wray Fuller (JR/Jackson, Tenn.) and Clay Hertel (SO/Louisville, Ky.) who each chipped in four points apiece. Fuller finished with a team-high seven assists, and Johnson dished out five assists. Yoder led the rebound's column with seven.
The Lions were the first to control the lead with their largest lead coming in the first half at eight points, and the largest lead of Reinhardt's was in the second half at seven points. The game was one of the tightest outings Bryan has had this year.
A two-point bucket in the paint by Johnson put the Lions ahead 10-3 at the 16-minute mark. Two minutes later, Cusick drained a shot from downtown to extend Bryan's advantage to eight, 16-8. Reinhardt slowly chipped away at the deficit and notched one of six tie points in the game at 30-30 with 2:44 to go until break. Bryan attempted to keep space, but the Eagles were able to steal their first lead of the game in the final seconds on a fast-break layup, taking a 37-36 lead into halftime.
Bryan came out of the gate and regained the lead as the second half unfolded, but it wouldn't last long as Reinhardt continued to respond with baskets on the other end of the court. Leveled 66-66, the Eagles countered with a free throw, a make under the basket, and a three-pointer. The lead was never surrendered back to the Lions. Lee came through with two significant baskets in the final minutes that tied the score on each, but two final foul shots by the Eagles sealed the 82-80 win for Reinhardt.
The Lions are focused on their next matchup, which is against arguably the toughest opponent they will face all season in No. 2 Union College (Ky.). The game is set for Wednesday, Jan. 18, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30pm.
For the full Bryan Lions Men's Basketball schedule, click here.