Brevard, N.C. - Gaither Hendrix led five Brevard players in double figures and Aleksandar Vasiljevic scored the final four points of the game as the Tornados completed the season sweep over the visiting Mars Hill Lions on Saturday afternoon in Boshamer Gymnasium, 96-91.
Brevard (4-20, 3-11 SAC) took control of the game midway through the first half on a Darius Moose layup, going up 16-15 and the Tornados led the game by as many as 12 points. However, the Lions (4-19, 2-12 SAC) battled back, keeping the game within one possession throughout the majority of the second half, including bringing the game all the way back to within one point on four different occasions, but Vasiljevic clinched the win for Brevard, scoring a layup and hitting a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining as the Tornados held on to complete the sweep over the Lions.
Hendrix led Brevard with 20 points in the game as the Tornados shot 66.0 percent (35-53) from the floor, 71.4 percent (15-21) from the second half as Brevard recorded the highest team field goal percentage in a game in the South Atlantic Conference in the 2011-2012 season. Darius Moose added 19 points on 8-for-10 shoot, while Vasiljevic had 18 points and eight rebounds in pacing Brevard to the win. Dominique Pickett connected on four three-pointers to finish with 16 points, while Drew Schauss added 14 points off the bench for Coach Mark Prosser.
Sammy Emile, the NCAA’s leading scorer coming into the game, led all scorers with 26 points and added nine rebounds in the loss as Mars Hill shot 52.4 percent (33-63) from the floor in the game. Terrell Harris added 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting, while Cody King added 15 points off the bench. Austin Patton was also in double figures for the Lions, scoring 13 points to go with five assists.
Harris and Emile combined to score the first four points of the contest to pace the Lions to the early lead and JaShawn Anderson hit a three-pointer as Mars Hill went up 7-2 with 18:04 on the clock. Brevard came back to tie up the game at 11 apiece on a Schauss three-pointer at the 12:39 mark and Hendrix put the Tornados ahead for the first time in the game, draining a three-pointer to put Brevard up 14-13.
After Emile and Schauss traded baskets, the Tornados went on 10-0 run as with Pickett scoring seven points on the run as Brevard went up 26-15 with 9:30 to play in the half. Brevard continued to press their lead, going up by as many as 12 following Moose’s jumper at the 3:39 mark to give the Tornados the 40-28 lead, but the Lions battled back to go into the halftime break down nine, 49-40.
Mars Hill continued to build momentum in the second half, cutting the lead all the way down to one point following Patton’s layup with 17:51 remaining in the game as the Lions put the score at 51-50. The Tornados answered with a run of their own as Pickett drained back-to-back three-pointers to extend their lead back to 10 points at 67-57 with 11:34 to play.
The Lions continued to fight back, cutting the lead to within one point multiple times in the second half, with the final one coming with 59 seconds left as Harris drove in for the layup.
However, Vasiljevic extended the BC lead with a layup with 11 ticks remaining on the clock, and the freshman forward from Belgrade, Serbia tracked down a Mars Hill miss with seven seconds remaining and made the subsequent free throws to give the Tornados the 96-91 victory.
Brevard returns to the road in South Atlantic Conference action as they travel to Harrogate, Tenn. as they take on Lincoln Memorial University on Wednesday, February 15th. Tipoff in Tex Turner Arena between the Tornados and the Railsplitters is set for 8 p.m.