BELMONT, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (0-1) fell to Belmont Abbey (1-0) by a score of 120-95 to kickoff the Hampton Inn by Hilton Tip Off Classic Friday evening.
the Crusaders jumped out to a 15-7 lead with just over five minutes played in the first half. Belmont Abbey led by as many as 18 with 9:42 left in the half before Mars Hill began to claw their way back into the contest.
Ja'Shawn Brooks' three-pointer with 8:50 left in the first was the catalyst for the Lions' 12-4 to cut the Crusader's lead in half. Another Mars Hill 6-0 run cut the deficit to five and with under two minutes remaining, a 8-0 run with five points from Jamal Bryant tied the game at 47. Trading baskets down the stretch and with the game tied at 49, the Crusaders' DeQuan Abrom hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give Belmont Abbey the 52-49 lead after 20 minutes of play.
Brooks led the Lions with 16 points in the first half while Austin Gilyard added 10 points. Bryant chipped in nine and pulled down four rebounds and assisted on five baskets.
Belmont Abbey carried their momentum over into the second half, opening on a 9-0 run in the first 2:31. The Crusaders maintained the double-digit lead for the remainder of the contest, going up by as many as 28 with 2:25 to play.
The Crusaders shot hit five-of-eight three pointers in the second half and hit 67 percent of their shots. At the end of the conclusion of the contest, Belmont Abbey had seven players register double-digit points, led by Abrom's 25. Romeao Ferguson added 22 while Charles Solomon scored 11 and collected 13 rebounds for the double-double.
Both Brooks and Javonte Cooke led the Lions with 18 points followed by Gilard's 17 on the night. Bryant added 15 while leading the team with five assists.
The Lions conclude the Hampton Inn by Hilton Tip Off Classic Saturday, November 9 when they square off against Limestone. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.