ANDERSON, S.C. – An early second-half run lifted Lander to an 80-71 nonconference men's basketball victory over Anderson in the finale of the Conference Challenge, Saturday afternoon at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson slipped to 1-1 on the season, while Lander improved to 1-1.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Led by freshman guard Josh Livingston's team-high 16 points, four Trojans reached double figures in the scoring column. Junior forward Jeremy Bouton added 13 points, a team-high six rebounds and shared game-high honors with four assists. Junior guards Randall Shaw and Gage Ellis scored 11 points apiece, with senior guard Maurice Howard tallying nine points and four assists.
Lander sophomore guard Nicklas Jonsson led all scorers with 29 points, while junior guard Rahu Purdie added 27 points for the Bearcats.
HOW IT HAPPENED
A pair of treys from Shaw propelled the Trojans to an early 10-5 lead with four minutes gone in the opening half, but Lander battled back to knot the score at 12 apiece on a dunk from sophomore Chris Tate at the 12:54 mark.
Livingston then ignited a 16-6 outburst by knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers and Ellis capped the run with five straight points, as AU built a double-digit, 28-18, lead with less than six minutes remaining in the half. After the two teams traded baskets, Lander closed the half with a 16-7 run to whittle the Trojan advantage to 37-36 at the break.
Shaw opened the second frame by connecting on three consecutive free throws to boost AU's lead to 40-36, but the Bearcats countered with a 15-1 run over the next three minutes to claim a 51-41 advantage with 16:20 on the clock.
The Trojans got back within five, at 67-62, on Bouton's second 3-pointer of the afternoon from deep in the left corner, but Lander rebuilt the double-digit lead and held off the Trojans down the stretch.
• Anderson was making its fifth straight appearance and seventh overall appearance in a Conference Challenge.
• AU was 17-of-21 (81%) from the charity stripe.
• Lander won the battle of the boards, 36-28, while grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.
• The Trojans hosted a Conference challenge for the first time.
• The Trojans are now 7-7 record in seven appearances in either South Atlantic Conference-Peach Belt or South Atlantic Conference-Conference Carolinas Challenges.
• Randall Shaw is now four points away from becoming the 13th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Anderson plays host to defending Conference Carolinas Co-Champion Limestone, Wednesday at the Abney Athletic Center. Tip-off versus the Saints is set for 7:30 p.m.