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TJ Nesmith
TJ Nesmith led the Bears with 24 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Edged Out at Home to Columbus State

A pair of free throws and a late defensive stand sent Columbus St. past Lenoir-Rhyne in Shuford Arena on Tuesday night, 63-62.

T.J. Nesmith came off the bench to score 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and added a season-high five rebounds. L.J. McCoy had 12 points and went 3-for-5 from long range while hitting all three of his free throws. Nas Tyson had 10 points and five boards and Jalen Johnson had eight points, eight assists and five rebounds.

Lenoir-Rhyne survived an early onslaught as Columbus St. as the Cougars hit their first three 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first 4:08 to lead 14-3. LR battled back and took a 26-24 lead on three free throws from McCoy. The half would end with the Cougars holding a 32-29 lead. The Bears took a 57-52 lead on a McCoy corner three with 3:35 to go but the Cougars would go on a 9-2 run to take a 61-59 lead with 1:07.

Johnson converted and and-1 to put LR up 62-61 with 48 seconds. A late foul call on Demierre Black’s drive to the bucket sent him to the line where he calmly sank a pair to put the Cougars up one. A late LR turnover with under a second to play sealed the deal. For the Cougars, Black finished with 17 points and Joshua Jerome had 10 points and 10 boards.

The lead was never larger than six points in the second half and the lead changed six times. This was just the second all-time meeting between LR and Columbus St. and the first since Dec. 18, 2007. LR won that game 72-43.

McCoy came into the game leading the nation in assists:turnover ratio.

This was the first home loss of the season for LR.

The Bears drop to 4-2 on the season. LR will return to action with a South Atlantic Conference game at home against Wingate on Saturday at 4 p.m.