Bryan Gives No. 19 Montreat A Scare before losing 86-77
DAYTON, Tenn. – The Bryan College men’s basketball team led 74-68 against No. 19 Montreat College (N.C.) with just over five minutes remaining in their Appalachian Athletic Conference bout on Saturday, but the Cavalier’s Alonzo Mobley took control of the contest for Montreat by connecting on four three-pointers down the stretch to propel the Cavaliers out in front where they stayed until sealing the win 86-77. The only made basket for the Lions in the final minutes was by Brice Cusick from the perimeter at the two-minute mark. Montreat has now won their past three games, improving to 12-1 overall and 6-1 in AAC play, while Bryan moved their overall record to 9-5 and conference record to 4-3.
Caleb Tuck had another big game for the Lions, leading the team with 20 points off 7-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-8 from deep. Trailing was EJ Bush who completed his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Two other Lions notched double-figure scoring; Tyler Yoder cashed in 3-of-6 from three-point land and made a two-pointer for 11 points while Oteriah Lee compiled 10 points and team-high five assists. Terrance Scales put up six rebounds and six points, Cusick totaled six points, and both Riley Dempsey and Justin Warner produced three points apiece.
As a team, Bryan shot 44.4 percent and managed to make 36 percent from the perimeter, while Montreat completed 49.2 percent of their looks from the floor and finished 32.3 percent from the three-point line. The Lions struggled with 16 turnovers and only saw eight turnovers committed by the Cavaliers, but Bryan did gain an edge in rebounds 35-33.
To begin the first half, the Lions had a rocky start as they created open looks but couldn’t get the shots to fall. The Cavaliers took advantage and rallied for a 7-0 run. A free throw by Bush and trey knocked down by Cusick helped Bryan gain some traction before battling to tie the game 9-9 and then take the lead 12-11 from Tuck’s three-pointer. Over the next 10 minutes, the Lions controlled a slim lead but didn’t allow the Cavaliers to regain an advantage during that period. It wasn’t until 2:05 before the break that Montreat tied the contest 27-27. Scales scored with 1:42 on the clock to put Bryan back on top, but that would be the Lion’s last first-half bucket as the Cavaliers rallied for eight unanswered points to own a 35-29 lead at halftime.
Montreat was the first to capitalize as the second half got underway, but Bryan countered with an 8-0 run to level the score 37-37 at 17:35. The Cavaliers were able to take back the lead and keep it until four and a half minutes passed and the Lions tied the score 45-45. In a crazy back-and-forth six minutes, each side fought for a total of seven tied points and five lead changes before Bryan came out on top 63-61 from a three-pointer cashed in by Warner. The Lions built their lead to six points on two occasions, 69-63 and 74-68, but then the Mobley show came on. Two three’s by Mobley erased Bryan’s advantage and tied the game 74-74. Another three-pointer by Mobley gave the Cavaliers a lead that wouldn’t be lost for the last three and a half minutes. Cusick dropped in a three-ball for Bryan to come within five points, 82-77, but the Lions were unable to make any of their last-minute shots as Montreat used two made bonus free throws and a layup to complete the 86-77 win.
Bryan doesn’t pick up play until Thursday, Dec. 14 when they play host to a tough River States Conference opponent in Asbury University (Ky.) with tipoff slated for 6pm.