DEMOREST, Ga. – Taylor Mills emerged with a game-high 26 points while teammates Marquise Lanier and Justin Vallejo added 14 and 10, respectively, to help provide Piedmont with a 72-56 victory over Brevard in men's basketball action on Wednesday evening.
Mills, who scored 13 points in each half, topped all scorers by hitting 10-of-14 from the floor and 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, as Piedmont scored 37 points in the second half to secure the win. Lanier reached double figures by hitting 6-of-14 from the floor to go along with five rebounds and two blocks.
Vallejo rounded out double figure scorers for the Lions, who improved to 7-6 on the campaign, by knocking down 5-of-8 from the floor. Meanwhile Elijah Alston climbed the glass for a game-high 17 rebounds, hauling in 14 defensive boards in the process.
The biggest difference in the game came in the paint, where Piedmont finished with a 40-10 edge, while the bench play of the two teams was decided by one point (16-15) in the Lions' favor.
Brevard was led by the play of JaMarquis Johnson, who finished with 13 points and five rebounds, and Stevie Williams who tallied 12 points. Johnson finished 5-of-13 from the floor, knocking down three 3-pointers along the way, while Williams was 3-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The Tornados finished the game hitting 19-of-53 (35.8%) from the field after converting 12-of-24 in the opening half.
Piedmont ramped up its defensive pressure in the opening stages of the second half and along with seven points from Mills stretched its lead to 45-36 at the 14:34 mark. A quick trey by Shelby Parris trimmed the deficit to six, but it was layups by Lanier and Michael Joseph that gave Piedmont its first 10-point advantage.
Cannon Lamb converted three free throws in less than a minute to account for Brevard's next three points, but it was four points by Miles Riley that kept the Piedmont lead in double figures, 57-46. The Lions eventually stretched that margin to 16 on a 3-pointer by Lanier.
Levi Lamb answered with a long range 3-pointer, while Johnson added a layup and Parris two free throws to spark a 7-0 run by the Tornados, who trailed 65-56. Piedmont answered by scoring the next seven straight, while holding Brevard scoreless, to complete the 72-56 victory.
The trio of Johnson, Williams and Parris, who combined for 22 of the Tornados' 33 first half points, allowed Brevard to be within two points at the intermission. Both Johnson and Parris enjoyed solid shooting performances, hitting a pair of 3-pointers, as the team went 7-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Brevard established a 10-2 lead in the opening minutes, highlighted by a series of 3-pointer by Williams as Parris, as the offense found its rhythm. However, Piedmont answered with 10 unanswered points as it assumed a two-point lead on a jumper by Vallejo at the 14:41 mark.
The two teams traded buckets over the next 9:36 of the half as they were separated by four points on only one occasion, at the 7:12 mark, when Alston converted a layup off a missed 3-pointer. Knotted at 22, after a free throw by Jakob Bergen, the teams battled through three ties in just over a minute of action.
Cannon Lamb drove home a jumper at the 3:14 mark, bringing the game to a 26-all deadlock, before Piedmont took advantage of a layup by Nick Ryan and a 3-pointer by Mills to assume a five-point lead. Parris and Johnson found their range for the Tornados, hitting from long distance, as Brevard scored seven points inside the final two minutes to make for a 35-33 score at the break.
Brevard returns to action in one week when the Tornados host Maryville at 7:30 p.m. in Boshamer Gym.