December 6, 2016 – It was an exciting night in Summers Gymnasium on Tuesday when the Bryan College Lions Men’s Basketball team reached triple-digits in scoring for the first time of the season with the help of a remarkable triple-double performance by Oteriah Lee and double-digit scoring by Reagan Johnson, Tyler Yoder, Brice Cusick, and Wray Fuller who finished with a double-double. The 107-92 win against the Royals of Johnson University (Tenn.) snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Lions, improving their overall record to 2-10 and dropping the Royals to 3-8.
In addition to Lee’s memorable game, another area of play grabbed the crowd’s attention as both teams combined for a total 86 three-point attempts. Bryan topped Johnson in the three-point contest shooting 40.5 percent behind the arc after going 17-of-42 compared to the Royal’s 34.1 percent on 15-of-44 chances. Yoder ended the game 7-of-13 from deep and was 8-of-15 shooting for the game as the second highest scorer with 24 points. Johnson followed completing 5-of-11 behind the arc and was 9-of-15 from the field for a team-leading 26 points. Despite his presence in the paint, Cusick proved a threat from outside as he scored nine of his 22 points from three-point territory and also aided with seven rebounds and four assists. Fuller notched his first career double-double with 11 rebounds and 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting along with going 5-of-7 from the foul line. Lee is one of only three NAIA Men’s Basketball players in the nation that have registered a triple-double this year. He corralled a career-high 11 rebounds, matched his career-high assists with 11, and dropped 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Riley Dempsey was the only other Lion to score as he chipped in seven points, four rebounds, and three assists.
The Lions shot 50 percent in the game (36-of-72), and the Royals trailed close shooting 45 percent (36-of-80). Johnson was 55.6 percent from the foul line after shooting 5-of-9, while Bryan connected on 64.3 percent going 18-of-28 after the Royals were forced to foul in the final minute in attempt to cut the deficit.
Tied 5-5 at the start of the contest, Johnson drained the deep look to give Bryan a lead that wouldn’t be surrendered for the rest of the game. Up 13-10, the Lions grew their lead to double-digits with the help of two back-to-back three-pointers by Yoder and a score from Cusick inside for a 21-10 advantage. With 12 before the half and the Lions leading by 13, 26-13, the Royals battled their way to 10 unanswered points, making it a one possession game with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Johnson hung close with Bryan over the next seven minutes until Fuller completed the three-point play with one minute to go and Yoder pulled up from outside the arc, bringing the score to 56-43 at the break.
Two three-pointers by Cusick, three-pointer and inside bucket by Johnson, and a successful jumper from Fuller helped the Lions claw their way to their largest lead of the game, 16 points, four minutes into the start of the second half. The margin at 69-53 continued up to 77-61, but the comfortable lead fell to a slim seven-point edge at the eight-minute mark, 83-76. With the help of a basket from Cusick under the goal and two consecutive treys by Yoder, Bryan’s lead was bumped up to 14 points with five and a half minutes left in the game. Unfortunately the Royals answered back with a 12-3 run, cutting the margin to five points with 3:35 remaining. Three made foul shots by Fuller and two made by Lee put the Lions up by 10, 99-89, with just over a minute to go. Johnson did all they could to send Bryan to the line and make headway, but the Lions showed enough poise in their free throws and forced the Royals into tough shots to earn the 107-92 victory.
“I thought we played very well offensively and thought we shot the ball especially well from the field,” said Bryan Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Don Rekoske. “It was good to get a win. Oteriah controlled the whole game, and that showed with his triple-double.”
The Lions are on the road this Saturday, Dec. 10, as fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference opponent St. Andrews University (N.C.) hosts Bryan at 2 p.m.