Anderson, S.C. - Josh Roper found a wide-open Travis Jackson underneath the basket with three seconds left and the sophomore forward placed the layup in the hoop as the Tornados escaped from the Abney Athletic Center when Denzail Jones’ last-second three-point attempt hit the front of the rim on Saturday afternoon as Brevard recorded the 85-84 victory.
In a game matching up two teams who reached the 2010 NCAA Southeast Regional tournament last year, the Tornados (2-2, 1-0 SAC) shot 53.6 percent (30-56) from the floor, led by Roper as the senior guard paced the Brevard offense with 30 points, narrowly missing out on the double-double with a game-high nine rebounds in the contest. Gaither Hendrix added 24 points on nine of 15 shooting from the floor, including three of five from behind the arc as the Tornados won their South Atlantic Conference opener for the second straight season, having knocked off Tusculum last season, 58-54 in overtime.
Four Trojans (5-4, 0-1 SAC) reached double figures in the game, led by 22 points from senior guard Brandon Young as the Trojans shot 47.0 percent from the floor in the game, 55.6 percent in the second half as they overcome a 40-34 halftime deficit. Kevis Cornwell added 16 points, while Jones had 13 and Taylor Shugart had 12 to go with a team-high nine rebounds as Anderson falls in their inaugural SAC home game.
Roper opened the contest with a layup on the game’s opening possession as the senior guard from Charlotte, N.C. scored seven of the Tornados first nine points as Brevard opened up the contest with a 9-5 lead at the 16:54 mark. A free throw by Britton narrowed the gap to 9-6 before Jones tied the game up with a three-pointer from the corner with 16:03 to play in the first half.
Roper responded on the Tornados next trip down the court, hitting a high-arcing three to put the Tornados up 12-9 and Hendrix added the next seven points as the Tornados breaking the tie at 16 with a three-pointer on the break giving Brevard the 19-16 lead at the 10:17 mark.
Ryson Felder followed the run with a personal 5-0 run of his own, pulling down the offensive rebound and going back up with the layup, while drilling a three-pointer from the right corner as the Tornados built their largest lead of the first half at 24-16 at the 8:52 mark.
Anderson steadily came back in the game, cutting the lead to one following Jones’ third three-pointer of the first half at 26-25. Brevard expanded the lead back out to eight, outscoring the Trojans 12-5, capped by a pair of free throws by Jermichael Tanner as the Tornados went up 38-30.
Anderson’s Cornwell and Young closed out the first half with a pair of layups, sandwiching a jumper by Roper as the teams headed into the locker room at the end of the half with Brevard up 40-34.
The Tornados built a 49-38 point lead early in the second half, but Anderson responded, using hustle and several offensive rebounds, fueling an 11-0 run capped by a thunderous dunk by Trey Britton off the assist from Young in tying the game up at 49 apiece with 15:15 left in the game.
Anderson would keep the game in striking distance the rest of the way until a turnover by Roper led to a fast break layup by Young as the Trojans picked up their first lead of the ball game at 76-75 with 4:02 remaining. The largest lead the remainder of the game would be at two points as Roper converted a pair of free throws, putting the Tornados up 83-81 with 19 seconds left on the clock.
Britton responded with his second dunk of the contest off the assist by Cornwell to tie the game up with eight seconds to play, as he was fouled by Hendrix. Britton converted the free throw to put the Trojans up 84-83, but off the inbounds pass, Roper split a pair of defenders on his way down the court before finding Jackson near the hoop with a bounce pass and Jackson went up, slapping the backboard as the ball slipped through the twine as the Tornados took home the 85-84 victory.
Brevard held the 43-26 rebounding edge over the Trojans and the Tornados also held the edge at the free throw stripe, shooting 86.4 percent (19-22) from the line, led by Roper going eight for eight. Anderson’s defense led the way for the Trojans, forcing 16 turnovers by the Tornados, but Anderson faltered on the free throw line, shooting 58.6 percent (17-29) in their first conference loss of the season.
The Tornados take a week off for exams before their next competition, as they open up the 2010-2011 home basketball season at Boshamer Gymnasium. Tipoff for the Wednesday, December 15th game against North Greenville University is set for 7 p.m.