Brevard, N.C. - Drew Schauss scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half and Josh Roper had his first career double-double with 23 points and 10 assists as the Tornados withstood a late second-half charge by the visiting Mars Hill Lions in winning their fifth game of the season, 91-87.
Brevard (5-3, 3-1 SAC) connected on a blistering 62.9 percent (22-35) of their field goal attempts in the first half on their way to shooting 53.4 percent (31-58) from the floor in the contest, led by Roper’s 23 point performance. Freshman forward Darius Moose added a career high 14 points, while Josh Jordan narrowly missed out on the double-double with nine points and 15 rebounds as the Tornados bounced back after falling to Carson-Newman on Wednesday.
Donterious Hughes led four Mars Hill (4-8, 1-3 SAC) players in double figures with 22 points, 14 which came in the second half comeback, while Sammy Emile added 12 in the second half on his way to an 18 point, 5 rebound performance. Dion Malachi added 15 points and a pair of blocked shots, while Randolph Howell connected for 10 points as the Lions shot 45.6 percent (36-79) from the floor in the game.
Malachi opened up the game with a dunk on the opening possession as the Lions jumped on the scoreboard first, but Schauss responded with a three-pointer on the Tornados opening possession, setting the tone for the first 10 minutes of the game as the teams traded the lead 11 times and saw the score tied five other times in the early going.
A three-pointer by Hughes at the 9:15 mark tied the score up at 28 apiece, but Vincent Dombrowski answered with a three-pointer at the other end to put Brevard back up 31-28. A layup by Howell put the score at 31-30 with 8:29 remaining, but this was the closest the Lions would come for the remainder of the first half as a three-pointer by Schauss on the next BC possession sparked a 21-7 run, capped by Brevard scoring on its last five possessions of the run as Brevard built their largest lead of the half at 18 points on a Jermichael Tanner layup with 36 seconds left in the first half, putting the score at 55-37. A layup by Mack cut the lead back to 16 and Malachi recorded a blocked shot on a BC desperation attempt as the teams went into the locker rooms with the Tornados up 55-39.
Mars Hill cut the lead back to within single digits on the strength of their defense in the second half, employing a full-court press. A pair of free throws by Hughes at the 16:26 mark put the score at 57-49 as the Lions opened the half with a 19-4 run, cutting the lead all the way to within one at 59-58 after a layup by Julian Mack. Another Dombrowski three-pointer gave Brevard a little cushion, but Mars Hill continued to press, eventually taking their first lead of the second half at the 9:57 mark on a Howell layup, 66-64.
Hendrix and Hughes exchanged jumpers, but Roper stripped Mack at mid-court, going in for the layup and drawing the foul to tie the game up for the ninth time at the 8:53 mark at 68 apiece, before sinking the free throw. Jordan extended the lead on the next BC possession with a pair of free throws as the Tornados built a nine-point lead at 81-72 with 2:56 left in the contest.
Mars Hill had one final challenge, bringing the game back to within three points at 90-87 with 14 seconds on a three-pointer by Emile, but Brevard went nine of 13 from the free throw line in sealing the 91-87 victory.
Brevard held the 39-37 rebounding edge in winning their fifth game out of their last six contests. The Tornados also connected on 10 three-pointers in the contest, led by Ryson Felder as the junior guard went a perfect three for three from behind the arc as the Tornados hit 55.6 percent (10-18) of their three-pointers in the game. Mars Hill recorded five blocked shots in the game with Malachi and Emile recording two apiece and the Lions, as a team, recorded 10 steals, led by Tarron Stewart’s game-high five.
Brevard takes to the road for their next game, making the trip to Salisbury, N.C. to take on Catawba College in a rematch of last year’s 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Championship Game. Tipoff for the Tornados and the Indians in Goodman Gymnasium is set for 8 p.m.