Boiling Springs, N.C. – On Tuesday night, the Brevard College men’s basketball team opened up their 2008-09 season with a solid performance in their exhibition opener against NCAA Division I member Gardner-Webb University, falling on the road by ten 62-52 in Paul Porter Arena.
The Tornados got off to a great start, as senior forward Joseph Chilton opened up the game with a three-pointer from the top of the key after BC won the opening tip.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs battled back to knot the score up at 6-6, as neither team could pull away in the first eight minutes of the opening half. A jumper by BC’s Andrew Freeman gave the Tornados a 15-14 lead at the 11:51 mark, the last lead of the game for Coach Jones’ squad, as GWU’s Grayson Flittner, the Big South Pre-season Player of the Year selection, connected on a long-range three only 30 seconds later to put the Runnin’ Bulldogs on top for good at 20-15.
Over the next six minutes of play the Tornados hit an offensive lull, as Brevard scored only two points by way of two Jonathan Whitson free throws, while GWU extended their lead to 15 points at 32-17 with 5:30 to play in the first half.
A lay-up by redshirt-junior guard Cody Siniard at the 5:11 mark stopped the Tornados scoring drought as BC finished out the half on a 10-4 run to put the score at 36-27 in favor of the Runnin’ Bulldogs at the half.
In the second half, the Tornados controlled the pace of the game as Coach Jones’ squad ran their offense effectively and held the fast-paced Bulldogs to only 26 points in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Tornados used solid team defense and good ball control to cut the Runnin’ Bulldogs lead to one point at 49-48 on a free throw by Siniard with 8:07 to go in the game.
Yet that is as close as Brevard would get, as GWU scored the next five points to pull ahead 54-48 with less than four minutes to go in the game.
In the closing minutes of the game the Runnin’ Bulldogs looked to their seniors Flittner and Aaron Linn, as the two took over the game scoring nine of their team’s final 11 points to hold off the Tornados and come away with the 62-52 exhibition win.
Leading the way for BC was Whitson with a team-high 16 points, with 14 of those coming in the second half. Starters Freeman and Chilton were both in double-figures, as Freeman had 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, while Chilton had 10 points with eight of those coming in the first half.
Despite missing senior Sean Ferretti, who sat out due to injury, the Tornados showed their depth, as Coach Jones played nine players – including Nathan Whitmire, Darin Dellinger and Sam Carlisle – who all saw their first action since 2006-07 having set out last season.
For the Runnin’ Bulldogs, the senior duo of Linn and Flittner combined to score 34 points, with Linn pouring in a game-high 18 points.
The Tornados second and final exhibition game will be on Friday, November 14, when Coach Jones’ squad will take on another NCAA Division I and Big South member the Radford Highlanders in Radford, Virginia. The tip off is slated for 7 p.m.