Hickory, N.C. - Jonathan Whitson led four Tornados in double figures with 16 points and Darin Dellinger broke the Brevard College career assist record as the Tornados completed the season sweep over the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears on Wednesday night in Shuford Gymnasium with the 65-60 win.
Whitson also pulled down six rebounds for Brevard (15-6, 7-3 SAC) in addition to leading Brevard in scoring, while Nathan Whitmire added 14 points, going six of six from the free throw line in the first half in addition to dishing out three assists. Josh Roper added 12 points and Dellinger added 10 points and three assists in the game, including breaking the Brevard College career assist record with his pass to Sam Carlisle early in the second half in the midst of an 8-0 Brevard run.
Lenoir-Rhyne (3-17, 1-9 SAC) was led by D.J. Blackmon as the junior led the Bears with 21 points, going eight of 16 from the floor and four of seven from behind the arc, as well as recording the double-double with 10 rebounds as the Bears avenged a 46-11 rebounding deficit in the first matchup between the teams by outrebounding the Tornados 36-32 in the game. Jon Hathcock added 17 points, connecting on five three-pointers and Spenser Sydney added five points, five assists and six rebounds before fouling out late for the Bears.
The Bears opened up the game scoring the first seven points capped by a three-point play by Blackmon on their way to a 20-9 lead after a three-pointer by Blackmon at the 13:37 mark. The Tornados responded after a Lenoir-Rhyne timeout by scoring the next four points on layups by Roper and Whitson to bring the game back to within 20-13 as the teams went into the media timeout. The Bears would go back up by nine at 22-13 on Nathaniel Shaw’s free throw, but the Tornados would respond with a jumper by Dellinger and a three-pointer by Shane Galloway to bring the game back within four with 5:48 remaining in the first half.
Lenoir-Rhyne would go back up by seven on a layup by Alex Watkins at the 2:47 mark, but the Tornados would score the next nine points, with Nathan Whitmire’s hitting six straight free throws to bring the game back to 25-24, before Dellinger capped the 9-0 run with a three-pointer with 1:18 remaining as Brevard went into the locker room with the halftime 27-25 lead.
Matt Kunz opened up the second half with a jumper to tie the game up at 27 apiece, but the Tornados responded on their next trip down the court as Roper connected from behind the arc off the pass from Dellinger to put the Tornados up 30-27, sparking an 8-0 run. The assist by Dellinger to Roper tied Darin for first all-time on the Brevard College assist leaderboard with 208 in his BC career. Dellinger broke the record set by teammate Cody Siniard on January 4th at Montreat College with his assist on Carlisle’s layup at the 17:49 mark to cap the 8-0 run and put the Tornados up 35-27.
The Bears came back in the game, retaking the lead at 40-39 on a jumper by Will Carpenter at the 13:09 mark, but Whitmire answered with a jumper on the Tornados next trip down the court to retake the lead. Lenoir-Rhyne tied the game up at 44 and took the lead for the final time in the contest on Blackmon’s three-pointer at the 7:01 mark, but Dellinger responded with a three-pointer on the other end to tie the game back up at 49 with 5:19 left in the clock.
Dellinger and Whitson would go on to score the next six points for the Tornados as Brevard went up 55-49 on their way to building their largest lead of the second half at eight points, putting the score at 60-52 with 1:04 left in the game.
The Bears would comeback one last time as Spenser Sydney connected from deep and Blackmon connected on a three-pointer to put the score at 62-58, but a pair of free throws by Roper and a late free throw by Carlisle with four seconds left clinched the game as the Tornados left Shuford Gymnasium with the 65-60 victory.
Brevard is back in action this weekend as the Tornados host fellow SAC leader Lincoln Memorial in a battle for first place on Saturday, February 6th. Tipoff for the game between the Tornados and the Railsplitters is set for 4 p.m.