GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Wingate used a 25-6 run in the final 11 minutes of the game to rally from an 18-point second half deficit to defeat host Tusculum 81-75 Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action.
The Bulldogs (12-10, 9-5 SAC) complete the season-sweep over the Pioneers (5-16, 3-11 SAC) who suffer their fifth straight loss.
Zeriq Lolar led Wingate with 24 points as he went 6-of-12 from three-point territory. Marco Haskins added a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Kerigan Farley added 15 points, six rebounds and eight assists before he left during the second half due to an injury. Devarious Christian accounted for 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots for the Bulldogs.
Tusculum junior Petyon Woods scored a team-high 24 points including 15 in the second half as he finished the game going 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. Senior Ronnie Baylark finished with 15 points and three assists before fouling out, while Caleb Hodnett added 11 markers and a team-high seven rebounds for the Black and Orange.
The final 20 minutes were a roller-coaster ride for both teams. Tusculum held a 32-30 lead at halftime and opened the second period making its first 11 shots over a 6:38 span including six 3-pointers as the Pioneers led by as many as 61-43. TC opened the second half on a 25-9 run in the opening 4:38. Woods scored nine points while Baylark added eight during the Tusculum spurt.
The Bulldogs chipped away at the deficit scoring the next six points to trail 61-49 following a Farley three-point play with 13:54 to go.
Woods closed out TC's 11-of-11 shooting start to the second half with his fourth triple during the run to push TC's lead back to 15 at 64-49.
The Bulldogs answered with a Christian dunk and a trey from Haskins to make it a 10-point game at 64-54 with 12:39 to go. Hodnett answered with a jumper for Tusculum while Lolar countered with a layup as TC led 66-56. Woods poured in his seventh trey of the night as TC led 69-56 with 11 minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs closed out the game with a 25-6 run as Wingate went 7-of-14 from the floor and a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line in the final 11:03. Meanwhile TC shot 2-of-15 from the field and 1-of-2 from the free throw in during the same span. The Pioneers went scoreless in the last five minutes and missed its final seven shots to end the contest.
Wingate out-rebounded the Pioneers 51-32, including 16-7 on the offensive glass resulting in 19 second chance points including a dozen in the second half alone.
Tusculum finished the game shooting 42.4 percent from the floor and connected on 14 three-pointers. Wingate shot 41 percent for the contest and buried 10 treys. The Bulldogs went 17-of-20 from the free throw line (85%), while TC went 5-of-9 from the charity stripe including just three trips to the line in the final 20 minutes.
The two teams combined for 13 blocked shots as Wingate posted eight rejections, while TC had five.
Tusculum has played in 11 games this season which have been decided by 10 points or less.
The Pioneers will close out its home-stand when they host cross-mountain rival Mars Hill for an 8 p.m. contest on Wednesday. It is "Pack the Arena" Night which will include games and prizes along with a drawing for a HD Television.