November 20, 2016 – Despite their season-opener win, the Bryan College Lions Men’s Basketball team has struggled to put another “W” in their record this year after dropping five consecutive games by ten points or less and coming up short earlier in the week in the Appalachian Athletic Conference opening game against the No. 11 team in the country, Union College (Ky.). On Saturday night, the lions looked to claim a victory in both their overall and conference record, but the impressive Eagles of Reinhardt University (Ga.) proved too much as they claimed the lead directly after tipoff and never surrendered it for the rest of the game.
Reinhardt jumped to an early double-digit lead at 18-7 and built their advantage to 24 points by the end of the first half, 53-29.
Ahead 60-34 with 16:34 left in the game, the Eagles pieced together eight unanswered points to claim a 34-point lead, their largest of the contest. The Lions responded with a nine-point rally initiated by a two-point bucket from Oteriah Lee, three-point shot by Tyler Yoder, another basket from inside by Lee, and a shot from underneath by Brice Cusick. Reinhardt was unshaken by any momentum shift and continued to play their game, holding off Bryan with a comfortable lead. With three minutes remaining, a trey by Yoder and a two-pointer plus two bonus free throws by Lee dropped the Eagle’s lead to 16. The Lions sustained the applied pressure, and Lee capped the run with a basket at the two-minute mark to cut the margin to 12 points, 86-74. Bryan was forced to send Reinhardt to the foul line in hopes to close the gap by missed free throws and capitalizing on the opposite end of the floor. Unfortunately the plan didn’t pan out as the Eagles connected on 5-of-6 free throws and added a last second fast-break layup, while the Lions came up empty on three chances from behind the arch resulting in a 93-74 Reinhardt victory.
Bryan struggled shooting 38.2 percent in the game and 28.9 percent from downtown, and Reinhardt impressed firing 53.2 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent behind the three-point line. The Eagles also dominated the glass 45-29 and held their turnovers to 15, while forcing the Lions into 19 turnovers.
Lee scored a career-high 21 points shooting 8-of-13, 1-of-4 from deep, and 4-of-5 at the foul line. He also led Bryan in the assists column with three. Yoder followed with 20 points going 7-of-18 and 6-of-14 from three-point territory. Cusick chipped in 13 points after shooting 6-of-11, and both he and Yoder registered a team-high seven rebounds apiece. Reagan Johnson was the only other Lion to collect double-digits in scoring with 11 points on 2-of-6 shooting, 1-of-5 from the outside, and a perfect 6-of-6 on free throws.
Up next for the Lions is conference opponent Tennessee Wesleyan who are receiving votes in the top-25 poll. The game is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 7:30pm in Summers Gymnasium.
Written by Wesley Sanders, Sports Information Director