Greeneville, Tenn. - Brevard scored 17 of the first 22 points in the contest, but the Pioneers built an eight point halftime lead in closing out the season sweep over the Tornados, 66-50.
Three different Brevard (3-19, 2-10 SAC) hit three-pointers as the Tornados surged to a 12 points lead in the first seven minutes of the game, but Tusculum (8-12, 5-7 SAC) rallied behind nine first half points by Neal Spinks to take the lead with 3:49 left in the first half, and the Pioneers led the rest of the way in taking the win in Pioneer Arena on Saturday.
Darius Moose led all scorers with 16 points, as the reigning SAC Player of the Week was 6-for-8 from the floor and pulled down six rebounds as the Tornados shot 41.0 percent (16-39) from the floor in the loss. Gaither Hendrix added 10 points, while Michael Gist provided a standout defensive effort in the game with four blocked shots and two steals off the bench.
Justin Steigerwald led five Tusculum players in double-digits with 14 points, going 6-for-6 from the free throw line, while Spinks closed out the contest with 12 points in 16 minutes for the Pioneers. Tommy Klempin and Kevin Vest scored 11 points apiece, while Darius Carter added 10 points as Tusculum shot 48.0 percent (24-50) from the floor in the game.
Moose and Drew Schauss connected on three-pointers on Brevard’s first two shots of the game and Hendrix added a trey of his own at the 15:53 mark as the Tornados jumped out the gates on fire, scoring on seven of their first nine possessions in building a 17-5 lead after a Moose layup with 13:17 remaining in the half.
A three-pointer by Vest knocked the lead back to nine, but a pair of free throws by Gist extended the lead back to 11 with 12:39 left in the half. Carter answered with a three-pointer on the next Tusculum possession, sparking a 27-8 run over the final 12:11 of the half as the Pioneers held the Tornados three-pointers by both Gerel Simmons and Dominique Pickett, and a Hendrix jump shot for the remainder of the period as Tusculum went into the break with the 35-27 lead.
Tusculum scored the first four points of the second half as the Pioneers lead expanded into double-digits on a pair of free throws by Klempin and a jumper by Daniel O’Conner as Tusculum went up 39-27 with 18:33 to play. Schauss brought the Tornados back to within single digits from the free throw line, hitting three of four from the charity stripe to put the game at 41-32 less than two minutes later.
The Pioneers would go up by as many as 17 in the second half, building a 58-41 lead with 8:42 remaining in the contest on a layup by Vest. The Tornados battled back, going on a 9-2 run capped by a layup on the fast break by Jermichael Tanner to cut the lead back to within 10 at 60-50 with 2:39 to play, but Tusculum closed out the game from the free throw line in recording the 66-50 South Atlantic Conference victory.
Brevard remains on the road in South Atlantic Conference play as they travel to Salisbury, N.C. to take on Catawba College on Wednesday, February 8th. Tipoff between the Tornados and the Indians in Goodman Gymnasium is set for 8 p.m.