Gardner’s double-double rallies Men’s Basketball past host Lenoir-Rhyne, 84-81

HICKORY – Drew Gardner (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Socastee) notched his fifth career double-double with a game-high 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, while Justin Nichelson (Boynton Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Atlantic) and Jaylin Stewart (Petersburg, Va./Bryant & Stratton) chipped in 17 and 14 points off the bench, respectively, as the Lees-McRae men’s basketball team rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit en route to a thrilling 84-81 win over host Lenoir-Rhyne in the non-conference action on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Gardner finished 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-7 from behind the three-point line, while chipping in an assist and a block in the contest.

Nichelson ties his career-high in points with a pair of 3-pointers to go along with eight rebounds, while Stewart tallied three assists.

Malik McConnell (Chattanooga, Tenn./Walters State) finished with nine points and a block, with Timon Jones (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) tallying seven points, four rebounds and a career-high five assists.

Follie Bogan (Brookhaven, Miss./Southwest Mississippi CC) also added a season-high seven points off of the bench.

Lees-McRae sprinted out of the gates by scoring the first seven points of the contest but failed to maintain the momentum as Lenoir-Rhyne used a 19-7 run to hold a 45-38 halftime advantage.

After the Bears extended the lead back to 57-47 with 13:35 remaining, the Bobcats slowly chipped away at the lead until McConnell knocked down two free throws to trim the lead to 79-78 with less than two minutes to play.

Jones stole the ball with 22 seconds remaining, which led to a fastbreak layup for Stewart, to give Lees-McRae the 82-81 lead with 18 seconds remaining.

A pair of clutch free throws by Nichelson extended the deficit back to 84-81, while a last-second heave by Lenoir-Rhyne hit the side of the rim to clinch the Bobcat victory.

Lees-McRae held a 42-38 edge in bench production and a 42-32 advantage in rebounding en route to an 11-6 lead in second-chance points.

Four Bears scored in double figures, led by Jalen Johnson with 17 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals.

P.J. Joseph added 11 points and six rebounds off of the bench.

Lees-McRae’s Abbott, McCray sweep Conference Carolinas Men’s and Women’s Swimming weekly awards

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Lees-McRae men’s and women’s swimming teams, under head coach Sean Weddell, swept this week’s Conference Carolinas swimming awards after competing in a dual meet against nationally-ranked Carson-Newman on Nov. 13. Sophomore Tate Abbott (High Point, NC/High Point Swim Club) was named the Women’s Swimmer of the Week, while senior J.D. McCray (Cape Carteret, NC/Beaufort Blue Fins) garnered Men’s Swimmer of the Week honors.

Abbott, a sophomore wildlife biology major, won the 50 free (24.51), 100 free (52.99), and the 100 fly (1:00.40) in a dual meet against nationally-ranked Carson-Newman on Saturday. Her time in the 100 free (52.99) ranks third in the Conference Carolinas this season, while her mark in the 50 free (24.51) is the fourth-fastest in the conference this season.

McCray, a senior business administration, won the 200 back with a time of 1:56.10, while also teaming up with Chase Davis, Cooper Gobble, and Caleb Eidson to finish second in the 400-free relay (3:15.31) in the dual meet on Saturday.

The senior also finished third in the 100 back (55.03) and the 500 free (5:00.18) at the meet. His mark in the 200 back (1:56.10) is the third-fastest in the Conference Carolinas this season, only .30 seconds behind fellow Bobcat Chase Davis’ time of 1:55.41.

Stocker wins CX

Men’s Collegiate A race, cycling competes at SECCC/ACCC Conference Championship

HENDERSONVILLE – Mike Stocker won the CX Men’s Collegiate A race on Nov. 21 to go along with a fourth-place finish in the same race on Nov. 20 to finish second overall in the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Men’s A overall standings, while Elias Dietrich and Riley Gallagher both posted win in their respective CX Collegiate B races, to lead the Lees-McRae men’s and women’s cycling teams at the NCCX – SECCC/ACCC Dual Conference Championships this weekend.

Stocker opened the weekend by finishing fourth in the CX Men’s Collegiate A race on Saturday, followed closely behind by fellow Bobcats Shay Wright in fourth and David Kahn in 15th.

Gallagher won the CX Women’s Collegiate B race, which ran with the Women’s Collegiate A race due to a low number of cyclists in that category.

Dietrich started the weekend by crossing third in the CX Men’s Collegiate B race, with Alex Trifunovic finishing fourth overall.

Stocker improved on his fourth-place finish on Saturday by winning the CX Men’s Collegiate A race on Sunday to earn himself a second-place finish in the overall conference standings.

Kahn crossed next for the Lees-McRae cycling team, finishing 11th, followed by Wright in 12th and Chase VanDuersen in 14th. Gallagher closed out the weekend by winning the CX Women’s Collegiate B race for the second consecutive day. Dietrich claimed the victory in the CX Men’s Collegiate B race, while fellow Bobcat Trifunovic crossed third overall.

The Bobcats will next compete in the Salisbury on Saturday, Dec. 4, in the team’s final tune-up before competing in the Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships in Wheaton, Ill., on December 9 and 10.

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