BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Lees-McRae made 19 three-pointers in a 119-86 victory over Tusculum in the South Atlantic Conference/Conference Carolinas Challenge Saturday evening at Williams Gymnasium.
Jordan Turner came off the bench to sink six three-pointers and score 21 points for the Bobcats (1-1), who outscored the Pioneers by a 66-40 margin in the second half. Lepreece Lynch added 20 points and Jason Saintizaire went 6-for-6 from the field and tallied 17 points for Lees-McRae, which received a three-pointer from eight different players in the victory.
Ronnie Baylark scored a game-high 22 points for the Pioneers (0-2) with Peyton Woods adding 15 points off the bench. Malik Tyree also reached double figures with 11 points in 14 minutes for Tusculum, which sank 12 three-pointers of its own but shot 40.9 percent (27-for-66) and were outrebounded by a 42-33 margin.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Lynch helped push Lees-McRae to a 16-8 lead with six minutes gone in the first half, but three-pointers from Woods and Zach Hartle helped Tusculum cut the margin to 16-15 with 12:55 remaining in the half. Another three-pointer from Woods tied the game at 18-18, and Hartle gave Tusculum its first lead at 21-19 with 11:44 remaining in the half. The Pioneers stretched the lead to four points at 25-21 on a pair of foul shots from Jackie Davis, but the Bobcats went on a 9-0 run to go ahead 30-25 on two free throws by Donte Falls with 8:32 to play in the half.
The Pioneers battled back to tie the game again at 37-37 on a three-pointer by Baylark with 4:08 left in the half, and regained the lead at 41-39 on a layup by Baylark with 3:32 to play in the half. Back-to-back threes from Quay Kimble and Lynch put the Bobcats back ahead 45-41 with 2:50 on the clock, and Turner knocked down the eighth three-pointer of the first half for Lees-McRae as it took a 53-46 lead to intermission.
The Bobcats were led by Lynch's 14 points in the first half, as the team shot 47.2 percent (17-for-36) and went 11-for-12 at the foul line. Baylark went 5-for-7 from the field and had a game-best 16 points in the first half, while Woods had 11 points as Tusculum went 15-for-33 (45.5 percent) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Two three-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half from Baylark helped the Pioneers stay within range of the Bobcats at 60-52, but a 10-2 run was capped by two free throws from Malik Wright that gave Lees-McRae a 70-54 lead with 14:46 remaining. The run was extended to 22-4 as a layup from Saintizaire pushed the Bobcats on top 82-56 with 12:53 to play. Tusculum went more than four minutes without a field goal as the Bobcats' lead swelled to 90-59 with 10:45 left. A four-point play from Turner got the Bobcats to the century mark and a 100-68 lead with 6:57 left, and the teams played even the rest of the way.
Hartle and Hunter Parrish each finished with eight points for the Pioneers, with Diego Poore scoring a career-best five points in 13 minutes off the bench. Caleb Hodnett led Tusculum with eight rebounds while Parrish added five before fouling out after 22 minutes of playing time. In addition to his 11 points, Tyree had four steals and went 4-for-4 at the foul line in 14 minutes of action.
Overall, Tusculum shot 80 percent (20-for-25) at the foul line as Woods also went 4-for-4 from the stripe. Baylark's four three-pointers were one shy of his career high, as were the three made by Woods in 19 minutes off the Pioneer bench.
A total of 14 different players scored at least one point in the game for the Bobcats, who were led in rebounding by Wright with five. Turner had 18 of his 21 points after halftime for Lees-McRae, connecting on 5-for-7 from three-point range in the second half to help the Bobcats shoot 11-for-18 from beyond the arc in the half.
The Pioneers will return to the road Wednesday night with the first of two non-conference games with Lee, starting at 7 p.m. The Flames will be the opponents for Tusculum's home opener, which will be Tuesday, Nov. 21 at Pioneer Arena