Lions Complete Comeback And Sting Yellow Jackets 76-71, Yoder Nets 1,000th Career Point
DAYTON, Tenn. – The fans in Summers Gymnasium had several reasons to celebrate on Saturday as the Bryan College men’s basketball not only completed a come-from-behind victory but did so against a highly talented Allen University (S.C.) squad who was previously sitting in the top-5 of the Appalachian Athletic Conference standings. After trying several different combinations, Bryan’s coaching staff found five Lions who provided the spark needed to overcome a 14-point deficit with 13 minutes remaining. The lineup would go on to take the lead at the five and a half minute mark and never look back, eventually capturing a 76-71 win.
Amidst the exciting game with 2:32 to go, Tyler Yoder hit a two-point bucket that gave Bryan a 68-64 lead, but it also moved his total career points to 1,001, joining him with a select group of Lions to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
It was a complete team effort by Bryan that made Saturday’s triumphant win a possibility. Leading the attack was Oteriah Lee who registered 21 points after shooting 7-of-9 and going 6-of-9 at the foul line. He also led the team in the assist’s column with five. Trailing Lee was EJ Bush who has had a phenomenal year thus far and impressed once again with his third double-double of the season comprised of 16 points and team-best 10 rebounds. A trio of Lions chipped in eight points; Yoder was one of them while also corralling five rebounds, Reagan Johnson posted eight points while hitting 2-of-4 from the perimeter, and Justin Warner was a difference maker being the momentum builder and finished with eight points. Clay Hertel didn’t go unnoticed as he shot 3-of-4 and ended with seven points. Terrance Scales recorded five points, and Isaiah McClain handed out three assists and three points.
Even though the Yellow Jackets won the rebounding battle 43-27, Bryan outshot Allen 46.9 percent compared to their 38.9 percent and held their turnovers to 15 while forcing the Yellow Jackets into 22 turnovers.
Allen was the first to strike, but Bush countered on Bryan’s initial possession to tie the score 2-2. The Yellow Jackets came through with another bucket, and Scales took his turn to answer back. Unfortunately for the Lions, over 33 minutes of play would pass before they would come that close to the Yellow Jackets again. At 12:33 in the opening period, Allen went ahead 15-10, but back-to-back baskets by Lee and Yoder helped cut the difference back to one. Each side went back-and-forth as neither team could create a run until at the five-minute mark the Yellow Jackets swarmed ahead for a 6-0 run. The 35-26 lead would be the largest of the first half before they reached a brief double-digit advantage, 41-30, with 1:52 to go. Hertel, Warner, and Scales helped knock the margin to six points as the first frame came to a close, 41-35.
It looked like all hope was lost when Allen managed to grow their lead to 14 points with 13:19 remaining in the game, but over the next six minutes Bryan would outscore the Yellow Jackets 13-0 to close the gap to one point at 58-57. The run was capped with Warner finishing above the rim in dominating fashion as he threw down a pair of highlight dunks. Allen broke the silence to go back up by three points, but there was no escaping Bryan’s determination as Bush followed with a score, Lee made the next four free throws, and McClain sank a foul shot to claim a 64-60 lead. Over the next four minutes, the Lions would answer any of the Yellow Jacket’s shots with another make. Allen trailed 74-71 with 10 seconds to go and were inbounding the ball on their end of the court in search of a three-pointer, but Yoder locked down his man and deflected the pass. McClain used no hesitation to scoop the ball up, stun a defender at half court with a behind-the-back move, and loft a perfect alley-oop pass to Bush who showed the bounce in his step with a gym-rattling jam. The Lions won 76-71, improving to 11-8 overall and 5-5 in AAC play. The loss for the Yellow Jackets dropped their overall mark to 12-5 and conference record to 6-5.
Bryan has an important week ahead as they travel to Tennessee Wesleyan University on Tuesday at 7:30pm before returning home to face another AAC challenger in Truett McConnell University on Thursday at 7:30pm.