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Tay Smith
Tay Smith had 18 points and six rebounds for the Bears.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Falls to Emmanuel

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Team dropped its first home game of the season as Emmanuel caught fire to knock off the Bears in Shuford Arena, 85-72. Emmanuel shot 58.3 percent from the field and 59.1 percent from long range for the game while KJ Jones II dropped 43 points, 33 coming in the second half.

LR connected on their first five field goal attempts and six of their first eight field goals as they built up a 13-7 edge. The Bears were up 21-16 at the 8:46 mark of the first half but Emmanuel rattled off 12 straight to grab the lead. A three-point play from Jones closed out the scoring in the first half as the Lions led 39-30 but Jones, who came in averaging 25 points per game, was held to 10. Jones took over in the second half, dropping 33 points and finishing 13-of-17 from the field.

The Emmanuel lead swelled to as many as 19 but the Bears continued to chip away and got the lead down to eight at the 8:25 mark. A layup by Kendall Latney and a triple from Jones pushed the lead back to 13. LR would cut it to nine with just over a minute to play but Jones sealed the game with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Jones went 6-of-7 from long range and hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line. The Bears were led by 16 from Tay Smith and 14 from Sam Martin. Jaquias Franklin chipped in 11 and Nas Tyson had 10. Conner Tilley came off the bench for a career-high nine points.

Only five players scored for the Lions, including Nate Gordon scoring just one point. EC went just 16-of-26 from the free throw line and Gordon was 1-of-7. The Bears started cold from long range but hit five of their last six attempts from long range. Jones came in as the nation’s leader in free throw attempts and free throw makes. LR entered the contest allowing opponents to shoot just 30.5 percent from long range which was the best in the league. This was the last non-conference game of the season for the Bears.

Lenoir-Rhyne is 8-4 on the season. The Bears will hit the road to take on Limestone on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.