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TJ Nesmith
TJ Nesmith was fifth in the conference in field goal percentage.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Season Comes to a Close

Facing a scenario where they needed a win and a Coker loss to advance to the SAC Tournament, the Bears couldn’t slow a hot second half from the Cavaliers in a 90-68 loss to conclude the regular season. UVA Wise scored 55 second half points and shot 62.5 percent from the field and went 9-of-15 from 3-point range.

The Bears had four players score in double figures led by 19 from T.J. Nesmith on 9-of-10 shooting. Cooper Fowler had 13 points and Nas Tyson had 12 while Malik LeGania closed out his LR career with 10 points.

UVA Wise held a narrow 35-32 lead going into the break but came out scorching in the second half and had a stretch in the middle of the half where they hit 8-of-10 shots. The Cavs also hit five of their first six 3-point attempts in the final 20 minutes.

The Bears held a 48-47 lead with 14:23 to go before the Cavs pulled away. Luke Lawson had 28 points and Bradley Dean had 26 as each had 10 field goals.

The Bears had been one of the best teams in the nation at defending the 3-pointer before UVA Wise hit 16 at a 52 percent clip. LR drops to 5-2 all-time against UVA Wise and lost for the first time in four attempts at Wise.

The Bears finish the season with 1,420 all-time wins and have played 2,586 games in their 102 seasons. Coker and LR each came in with six league wins but the Cobras had the tiebreaker thanks to a win over Catawba earlier in the season.

The Bears season ends at 11-15 overall, 6-12 in the South Atlantic Conference.