ATHENS — The Mountain Lions returned home with a roar after a disappointing week on the road, the teams picked up two wins in MEC conference play with the men rolling past Urbana on Saturday 69-60 and the women fighting it out in OT winning 92-90.
Saturday afternoon inside the Carter Center was a fight with neither team establishing dominance at the start, when CU’ s senior guardsmen Trey Brisco and Martin Kelly Jr., along with sophomore guard Brandon Kennedy downed three consecutive three-pointers and jumpstarted the run before sophomore guard Kam Harrison had a driving layup down the baseline and junior forward David Bea Mulumba hit a layup eight seconds before halftime opening up a double-digit lead at halftime, 34-24
The first seven points of the second half also belonged to Concord as Brisco hit a second three-pointer to help lead the spurt.
Later in the second half, Kelly Jr. completed a three-point play at the 13:44 mark to extend the Mountain Lion lead to 20 points, 54-34. The only time the Blue Knights were able to get the CU lead under 10 points was on the final bucket of the game for the final margin of victory for Concord.
The Maroon and Gray shot over 50 percent in both halves of the contest and finished the game with a percentage of 60.4 (29-of-48)—a season best.
Kelly Jr. came off the bench to provide 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Freshman guard Ethan Heller tallied 17 points on 7-for-11 from the field. Junior forward Liam Evans was perfect from the field, 5-of-5, as he scored 11 points.
Scoring just four points in the contest, junior guard/forward Malik Johnson did a little bit of everything else with team highs in rebounds, assists and steals.
Led by Johnson, the Mountain Lions assisted on 17 of 29 made shots in the game. All eight players that saw the floor scored for Concord.
Defensively, Concord held Urbana to 38.5 percent shooting (25-for-65) and to 27.3 percent (9-for-33) from three-point range. The Mountain Lions made 29-of-49 from the field (60 percent) in the win.
The women faced their own battle later that same day as they pushed the Blue Knights into overtime to capture the win for the Lions.
The Mountain Lions raced out to a 21-9 lead after the first quarter, and led by as much as 23 points, 42-19, at the 2:29 mark of the second quarter after a three-pointer by freshman guard Jazz Blankenship. CU settled for a 42-28 halftime lead.
Urbana’s late second-quarter surge propelled it to a 32-point third where the Blue Knights were able to cut the Concord lead to four, 64-60. From there, neither team led by more than seven points over the remainder of the game.
Leading for nearly the entirety of the game, Concord needed a layup from sophomore guard Maggie Guynn to tie the game at 83-83 with four seconds left to force overtime.
After UU tied the game at 88-88 with 53 seconds left, Guynn calmly sank two more foul shots. Again Urbana, though, had an answer with a layup with 22 seconds remaining. On the ensuing CU possession, senior forward Madison May lobbed a pass into Fitzwater who fought off a double team and scored the decisive bucket with time winding down. Out of an Urbana timeout, Concord’s defense forced a tough shot from Tyra James that hit off the side rim.
Urbana (12-8, 8-6 MEC) stormed out to a three-point edge in the first 54 seconds of overtime as it scored four of the first five points. However, the Mountain Lions got four consecutive free throws from sophomore guard Gracie Robinson to pull ahead, 88-87, with 2:06 left in overtime. A layup from junior forward Riley Fitzwater with 4.7 seconds remaining in overtime pushed the Concord University women’s basketball team past Urbana, 92-90.
May posted 25 points and 11 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. Of the 25 points, May scored 21 after halftime. Fitzwater got to 20 points with the late bucket and added 12 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the year.
Robinson poured in 15 points while Guynn did a little bit of everything with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Junior forward Keely Lundy finished one point shy of a double-double with nine points and a career-best 11 rebounds.
On Monday, the Mountain Lions faced cross-county team Bluefield State College where both teams took home another in the win column with the men coming in under the wire 74-71 and the women holding the Blues for a 63-53 win
An offensive rebound put back by Brisco with 24.9 seconds allowed the Lions to pick up the win. Although starting the game with a double-digit lead, the Lions were unable to keep that lead from slipping through their fingers in the first part of the second half A layup from junior forward Liam Evans pushed CU’s advantage to 15 points, 70-55, with 5:49 left in the game.
However, Bluefield State did not go down without a fight, scoreing 16 unanswered points over the next 3:38 of the game to go up 71-70 with 2:11 left. Concord missed its next two shots as it tried to grab the lead back. After a shot clock violation on the Blues with 54 seconds remaining, Johnson couldn’t connect on the following CU possession, but Brisco came flying in from the right baseline and muscled back up a layup to push Concord ahead 72-71.
On the ensuing BSC trip, senior guard Martin Kelly Jr. stole a pass away and found Johnson who calmly sank two free throws with 2.3 seconds left to give Concord a three-point advantage. Off the in-bounds, Bluefield State got a shot from about 30 feet away, but the attempt hit off the front iron.
Concord shot 48.2 percent (27-for-56) from the field while holding the Blues to 42.9 percent (27-for-65).
Defensive strategies allowed the Concord University women’s basketball team to hold the Lady Blues to 16 points in the second heading toward the win on Monday night. However, CU had to first erase a 14-point first-half deficit before stonewalling the Blues in the second half.
Bluefield State got out the gate fast and held a 21-11 lead after the first quarter, and upped its advantage to 32-18 at the 5:21 mark of the second quarter. The Mountain Lions were able to end the half on a 14-5 run to trim the deficit to five points, 37-32, at the break.
Sophomore guard Guynn had eight of her 17 points during the run as she started the spurt with a three-point play, and connected on a left wing three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to get within five points.
Despite limiting BSC to six points in the third quarter, it wasn’t until the 2:02 mark of the period that Concord was able to overtake Bluefield State as Robinson hit on one of her three three-pointers in the game. A three-point play Fitzwater 40 seconds later gave the Mountain Lions a 49-43 edge after three.
However, the Blues did not go away quietly.
Bluefield State outscored Concord 8-2 in the first 2:27 of the fourth to knot the game up at 51-51. A basket by Guynn at the 7:16 mark and a three-pointer Blankenship on the following possession gave CU the cushion it needed to prevail by 10 points.
Senior forward Madison May scored a team-best 18 points while dishing out a game-
Concord shot 44.2 percent (23-for-52) from the floor while holding BSC to 29.2 percent (19-for-65).
The Lions hit the road starting Thursday when they faced Frostburg State. Game scores were unavailable at press time. The men will look to settle the score with Fairmont State on Saturday after a disappointing meeting in December resulting in a 67-91 loss. On the other hand, the women will look to repeat history Saturday afternoon against Fairmont with a win.