BANNER ELK, N.C. -- DeQuan Abrom led five players in double figures with 20 points, but a late rally fell short in a 103-94 setback at Lees-McRae in Conference Carolinas men's basketball action Tuesday night. The contest marked the regular-season finale for the Crusaders (10-18, 5-13).
Myron Carmon tallied 14 points, while Deion Lane added 13 and seven rebounds. Ben Ferguson and Markel Pollard chipped in 11 points each with Pollard adding eight boards. Lepreece Lynch of Lees-McRae led all scorers with 27 points.
Lees-McRae (20-7, 13-4) shot 63.6 percent from the field in the first half to hold an 11-point edge, 54-43, at the break. The Crusaders trailed 8-3, but rattled off 10 points in a row for a 13-8 lead. The Bobcats broke a 22-22 tie with seven straight points that extended to 14-3, making the score 36-25 with 7:59 left. The margin reached 18, 49-31 at 3:31 mark, when The Abbey made a surge, closing the period on a 12-5 run.
The momentum continued into the second half. An 11-4 start cut the difference to four, but Lees-McRae responded to push its lead back to 15, 76-61 with 11:38 remaining. The Crusaders had a final charge, though, using a 13-0 run -- tied for its biggest of the season -- to even the game at 79 at the 6:57 mark. But the conference co-leaders had the final answer, scoring five straight and 11 of 15 to pull away. The Bobcats hit 11 of 13 free throws in the final 2:25 to preserve the victory.
Belmont Abbey will be the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament, which starts next week. The Crusaders will travel to the still-to-be-determined top seed for a quarterfinal matchup on next Tuesday.