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TJ Nesmith
TJ Nesmith led the Bears with 18 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Opens Season With Win

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Team tipped off their 2022-23 season with a 65-55 win over visiting Montreat. TJ Nesmith scored 22 points as the Bears used a late 20-9 second half run to pull away from the Cavs and claim victory Monday night inside Shuford Arena. LJ McCoy added 12 points and six assists.

Montreat did not lead at all in the first half, The Bears jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead in the first three minutes as Nesmith had six quick points for the Bears. LR was up 33-24 with just 2:27 left in the half before the Cavs went on a 7-0 run to close the half including a buzzer beater by Gabriel Rivera to cut the Bears lead to two at the intermission. The Cavs shot 52% from the floor in the first half while the Bears shot 44%. Both teams struggled from long range as the teams combined to go 6-23, each hitting three triples.

Montreat took their first lead of the game after a triple by Collin Mills and stretched their lead to four. A steal by Hamilton Campbell lead to a fastbreak basket by Malik Legania to regain the lead at 47-46 as the Bears went on a 20-9 run the last 7:06 to close out the game. Bears went 4-4 from the line in the last forty-five seconds to stretch the lead to twelve as the Bears closed the victory out.

Nesmith lead all scorers with 22 points while Nas Tyson had 14. McCoy hit three from long range en route to 12 points. McCoy added six assists as well. Montreat has 12 players score but no one had more than ten points.

The game was the first ever meeting between the programs.

After protecting the ball a league best last year, the Bears only turned it over six times tonight. Montreat did dominate the offensive glass with fourteen offensive rebounds in the game but only lead to thirteen second chance points.

Campbell stuffed the box score with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and that huge steal to help the Bears regain the lead. Bears have won four of their last five season openers.

LR is 1-0 and will travel to Lees-McRae on Wednesday, Tip-off is schedule for 7:00 from Banner Elk.