HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- Cory Fagan poured in a game-high 19 points to lead the Tusculum men's basketball team to a 93-83 South Atlantic Conference win over Coker Saturday afternoon at the DeLoach Center.
The Pioneers (11-13, 8-10 SAC) sweep the season series over the Cobras (7-17, 4-14 SAC) and win in Hartsville for the first time ever in four visits. Tusculum remains in ninth place in the league standings, but are now one game out of a three-way tie for sixth place with four conference contest left.
Tusculum poured in 15 three-pointers on 27 attempts (56%), including four from Fagan who extends his school-record streak to 40 consecutive games with a trey. He also went 5-for-5 from the free throw line, dished out three assists and grabbed a team-best nine rebounds.
The Pioneers rallied from a seven-point deficit in the first half using a 28-9 run over a span of 8:36 to a 46-34 lead with 1:09 left in the period. Coker scored the final five points of the half to trim the deficit to 46-39 at the intermission.
In the second half, Tusculum pushed the lead back out to a dozen at 59-47 with 15:18 left in the game following a Ronnie Baylark layup. The Cobras answered with a 10-0 run which was capped off by a Demarco Jackson three-point play as the home team trailed 59-57 with 12:47 left in the game.
TC's Chase Mounce made four free throws to push the advantage back to six at 63-57 with 11:54 remaining. Coker followed with an 8-2 spurt to bring the Cobras to within one at 66-65 after a LaDarius Williams layup.
The Pioneers answered with a 10-1 run over the next two minutes to take a 76-66 following back-to-back treys from Zach Hartle.
Tusculum maintained at least a seven-point edge for the remainder the game and took its largest lead of the night at 89-76 with 3:06 to go after a pair of Trey Blevins' free throws.
TC senior Kendall Patterson finished with 16 points, giving him 998 for his collegiate career. Baylark added 13 points and four assists, while Hartle went a perfect 3-of-3 from three-point territory for his nine markers. Mounce also finished with nine points, while Caleb Hodnett and Blevins tallied eight points each in the Tusculum win.
The Cobras placed five players in double figures, including 16 points and 13 rebounds from Miguel Priest. Jackson accounted for 15 points off the bench, while Nathan Lemke and Williams tallied 12 points each for the home team.
Tusculum finished the game shooting 49 percent from the floor and went 26-of-34 at the free throw line (77%). Coker shot 45 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Pioneers by a 39-31 margin including 16-6 on the offensive glass.
Fagan has connected on 193 three-pointers in his career, which moves him into fifth place all-time and is now just three treys from taking over fourth place which is held by former All-SAC long-range specialists Bobby Ewing (195 from 2002-2005).
The Pioneers return to Greeneville to begin a three-game home-stand starting with Wednesday night's clash against arch-rival Carson-Newman at 8 p.m. Wednesday is "Pack the Arena" Night as well as "Black Out" Night as TC fans are asked to wear Black to the game. Gate proceeds from the game will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.