Brevard, N.C. - The Tornados men’s basketball team offset turning the ball over 27 times on Wednesday evening against the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears by dominating the glass as Brevard held a plus-35 rebounding advantage led by Sam Carlisle’s double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds in securing their third South Atlantic Conference win of the season, 77-68.
Josh Roper led four Tornados in double figures with 21 points and had eight rebounds as Brevard (9-3, 3-0 SAC) had seven players with multiple rebounds in the contest. Jonathan Whitson added 18 points and eight rebounds going six of eight from the floor and connecting on his first three-pointer of the season, while Carlisle had his second double-double of the season on eight of nine shooting as the Tornados connected on 59.1 percent (26-44) of their attempts from the floor. Jacques Dovonou added 16 points for the Tornados in 18 minutes play.
D.J. Blackmon had the hot hand early for the Bears (3-10, 1-2 SAC), going five of seven from the floor in the first half en route to a game-high 25 points. Jeff Thomas added 13 points for the Bears and Marcus Hodges had 11 points and four assists from the floor as Lenoir-Rhyne connected on 42.1 (24-57) percent of their field goal attempts. Blackmon led the Bears defensive effort with six steals, as Lenoir-Rhyne forced the most turnovers the Tornados have given up since January 21, 2009, when Brevard coughed the ball up 32 times against Carson-Newman.
Lenoir-Rhyne scored nine of the first 13 points of the game as Blackmon converted a pair of jumpers from outside to put the score at 9-4 in favor of the guests at the 16:28 mark. The Tornados responded with an 8-2 run to take their first lead of the game on Whitson’s rebound and put-back with 13:23 on the clock in the first half as the teams traded baskets for the first ten minutes of the contest.
With the score even at 19, Whitson drilled his first three-pointer of the season to spark a 10-0 Brevard run capped by a layup by Dovonou as Brevard went up 29-19 with 7:25 left in the opening period. Lenoir-Rhyne came right back with a run to tie the game up at 31 apiece on Hodges’ layup with 4:08 on the clock. The Tornados took the final lead of the first half on Carlisle’s turn-around jumper from the paint at 35-34 before a converted free throw by Carlisle sent the teams into the locker room with Brevard up by two.
The Tornados opened up the second half with a 17-4 run starting on Dovonou’s three-pointer on the half’s opening possession and ending 4:25 into the period on Roper’s jumper from the top of the key as Brevard built a 53-38 lead. Lenoir-Rhyne chipped away at the lead before going on a 13-2 run spurred on by six Brevard turnovers as the Bears brought the game back to within five at 63-58 on a free throw by Hodges with 5:07 remaining in the contest.
Brevard slowly built the lead back through free throws and a pair of Carlisle layups as the Tornados built a double-digit lead at 70-60 with 2:37 to go and free throws by Roper and Whitson closed out the contest as Brevard held on to win their third SAC game of the season.
Brevard stays in conference play as the Tornados travel to Harrogate, Tenn. on Saturday, December 9th as they take on Lincoln Memorial University. Tipoff between the Tornados and the Railsplitters in Tex Turner Arena is set for 4 p.m.