Milestones, upsets and nail biters marked an exciting first weekend of 2016 in D2 men’s basketball. Here’s a quick look at the five biggest stories from this past weekend.
BELLARMINE TOPPLES LINCOLN MEMORIAL (Tenn.)
BR-30 Bellarmine’s Rusty Troutman scored a career high 33 points as the Knights knocked off BR-26 Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) 98-84 in Louisville on Saturday.
Gerel Simmons, Jalen Steele and Luquon Choice combined to score 34 of the Railsplitters’ 41 first half points as the visitors trailed 43-41 at halftime after a first half which saw 13 lead changes and four ties.
“The key to the game is that [Lincoln Memorial is] so talented at [point guard, shooting guard and small forward],” Bellarmine head coach Scotty Davenport said after the game. “In the first half [Simmons, Steele and Choice] were 13 of 20 from the field and in the second half those same three were eight of 24. That's our perimeter players making some defensive adjustments, and I couldn't be more proud. Nobody loves to talk more than I do, and I can't put into words how proud I am.”
Bellarmine built an 82-72 lead with 4:27 left after an Adam Eberhard (15 points) three pointer. Lincoln Memorial would battle back, however, getting to within six, 87-81, with 1:51 remaining after Choice’s fastbreak layup, resulting in a Bellarmine timeout.
The Railsplitters, however, were assessed a one-shot technical foul after breaking the huddle late following the timeout. The final two minutes would also see two additional technicals – one on Choice, the second on the bench – enabling 11 straight points – including seven-for-seven from the stripe – to help send the the Knights Hall crowd of 1,921 home happy.
George Suggs added 18 points for Bellarmine, who had five players finish with at least 10 points.
BUNCHED UP IN THE CCAA
BR-20 California-San Diego handed BR-9 Cal Poly Pomona their first loss of the season, 72-69 on Saturday night. With the win, the Tritons find themselves in a four-way tie atop the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings.
In a first half that saw six lead changes and five ties, it was Cal Poly Pomona (12-1, 5-1 CCAA) leading UCSD (10-2, 5-1 CCAA) after the Broncos close out the first half with a 6-2 run to hold a 36-32 advantage.
The Tritons, who were coming off an 82-72 home loss to BR-85 Humboldt State on Friday night, opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 41-38 lead. The Broncos battled back to tie the game at 50-50 with ten minutes left in the game after Jason Faison split a pair of foul shots.
From that point, UCSD went on a 13-2 run over the ensuing six minutes, powered by seven points from Adam Klie (15 points, 12 rebounds) to take a 63-52 lead with four and a half minutes left.
Drew Dyer led the Tritons with 23 points, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Jordan Faison finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Broncos.
UCSD and Pomona are tied atop the CCAA standings along with Humboldt State and BR-22 Chico State with 5-1 league records.
REISMAN WINS 600th AT TARLETON
BR-5 Tarleton State head coach Lonn Reisman won his 600th career game as the Texans defeated BR-113 Cameron 71-61 in their Lone Star Conference opener at Wisdom Gymnasium in Stephenville, Texas on Saturday.
Tarleton (11-2, 1-0 LSC) clung to a 31-28 halftime lead over the visiting Aggies. After Cameron (8-6, 1-1) scored the first five points of the second half to take a 33-31 lead, the Texans went on a 13-2 run to take a 44-35 lead with 14:18 left.
The Aggies battled back to take a 58-57 lead with 5:33 left after a Tyus Momoh fastbreak layup off a steal. The Texans, however, responded with a 7-0 run, boosted by a Nosa Ebomwonyi three-pointer, to take the lead for good, 64-58 lead with 2:25 left.
E.J. Reed and Charles Hill each scored 19 to lead the Texans while Michael Hardge added 14. Cameron Lee led the Aggies with 15 points.
Tarleton State returns to action Wednesday night when they host BR-2 Angelo State in a critical early season LSC showdown.
BLUE TIGERS STING EMPORIA STATE
Don’t look now, but the top team in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association isn’t Northwest Missouri or Central Missouri.
It’s the Blue Tigers of BR-241 Lincoln (Mo.).
Lincoln (9-3, 5-1 MIAA) picked up where they left off in 2015 with a 71-65 win at BR-120 Emporia State on Saturday.
The Blue Tigers opened the game with a 12-3 lead, leading by as many as 11 points in the first half before Emporia (6-6, 3-3) battle back to cut Lincoln’s lead to 39-36 at the half.
The Hornets scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 43-39 lead after a Terrence Moore completed the old-school three-point play. Emporia would extend their lead to 49-40 with 15:44 left before a 17-4 run capped by a Taccorrus Mattox layup with under eight minutes left to give the Blue Tigers a 57-53 lead.
Emporia got to within one point, 65-64, with 2:16 left after a Jevon Taylor three-pointer. An Anthony Virdure (26 points) jumper launched Lincoln’s decisive 6-1 run to close out the game for the Blue Tigers.
Richie Lewis and Jaylon Smith each added 14 for Lincoln, while Charles McKinney led Emporia State with 14 points.
Lincoln travels to BR-82 Washburn on Monday while Emporia State hosts BR-99 Lindenwood.
SKYHAWKS GROUND BENTLEY
BR-47 Stonehill knocked BR-31 Bentley from the ranks of the undefeated in Northeast-10 play with an 87-75 win in Waltham, Mass. on Saturday.
Bentley (9-3, 6-1 NE-10) led 49-36 less than two minutes into the second half before Stonehill (10-3, 5-2) went on a pair of runs in the second half. The first run brought the Skyhawks to within 51-45 with 14:27 left to play on a Carter Smith layup.
The Falcons held off the first run, expanding their lead to 61-51 after a Matt Barr three. Bentley could not, however, hold off a second Stonehill run as the Skyhawks took a 69-65 lead.
Smith’s layup with 6:12 lead tied the game at 65-65; a Pierce Cumpstone jumper with 5:25 left gave Stonehill the lead for good.
Smith led all scorers with 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting and was a perfect six-for-six from the foul line while Ryan Logan added 24 for Stonehill. Keegan Hyland led the Falcons with 29 points while Alex Furness added 14 in a losing cause.
With the win, the Skyhawks sit in third place, one game behind Bentley and BR-16 St. Anslem for the top spot in the NE-10 standings.