DeSean Murray pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds, including 11 on the defensive end, while scoring just one shy of his career-high with 27, to help the Presbyterian College men’s basketball team stave off a furious Piedmont rally and lead the Blue Hose to the 69-65 win Saturday afternoon at Templeton Center in Clinton, S.C.
The Blue Hose improve to 5-6 overall, while the Lions drop to 5-4. The Blue Hose next travel to Richmond to take on the Spiders in a noon game Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Piedmont outscored PC, 18-17, in the first eight and half minutes of the second half to cut its deficit to just one, 44-43. A three-pointer by Jenkins three minutes later helped the Blue Hose build back up a seven-point lead, 53-46, 8:38 on the clock.
A 10-3 run by the Lions, helped by two three-pointers by Gaines, over the next three minutes tied the game at 56-56, with just over five minutes to go. PC responded with a 9-1 run, helped by four points from Murray and a three from Markus Terry, and took the eight-point, 65-57 lead, 2:24 left.
The Lions weren’t done, cutting the margin to two with 13 seconds on the clock. That would be as close as the visitors would get with Murray connecting on four free throws to hold Piedmont at bay and give PC the 69-65 edge.
After Piedmont broke a scoreless tie with a three-pointer by Gaines at 17:54, the Blue Hose scored 13 of the game’s next 16 points to build a 13-5 lead, 11:53 on the clock.
England knocked a three to cut PC’s lead to just three, highlighting a 12-7 run by Piedmont to make it just 20-17, in favor of the home team, 7:49 left before the half.
Leading 24-22 after Piedmont hit its fourth three-pointer of the game, Murray scored the next eight points, with Reggie Dillard adding a three-pointer as well, to lead PC on an 11-0 run to take its largest lead of the game, 35-22, 1:13 to go.
Both teams traded baskets the final minute with PC heading to the locker room leading by 12, 37-25.
Following Murray and his 27 points and 18 rebounds for his sixth career double-double, was Janeil Jenkins with 10 points, only one shy of his career-best. John Majors, II added eight rebounds as well.
Gaines led Piedmont with 20 points, followed by Chris Meeks with 11 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds.
PC shot 32.4% from the field and hit four three-pointers, while Piedmont shot 42.9, including 53.8% in the second half. The Lions connected on seven three-pointers and were 10-of-15 from the charity stripe, compared to 21-for-32 for the Blue Hose. PC out-rebounded Piedmont, 51-37, and held the 27-11 advantage in second-chance points.