BELMONT, N.C. -- DeQuan Abrom scored 20 points and Deion Lane tallied a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, but a late Tusculum basket sent Belmont Abbey to a 69-67 setback Saturday afternoon in the men's basketball home opener.
Brandon Mitchell scored his only points of the game on a layup with 1.0 seconds remaining to break a 67-67 tie. The basket capped a second-half rally that saw the Pioneers (1-3) trailing by as many as 15 points near the midway point of the period.
Freshman John Bowen also reached double figures with a career-best 11 points for the Crusaders (2-2). Donovan Donaldson and Peyton Woods led Tusculum with 21 and 20 points, respectively.
Belmont Abbey led throughout the first half after scoring the seven of the first 10 points. It led by as many as 11 points, 39-28 with 2:38 left, before Donaldson tallied all six points over the remaining time to make the score 39-34 at the break.
The Crusaders started the second period on a 12-2 run pushed the lead to 15, 51-36, with 14:36 to play, but Tusculum fought back. The Pioneers went on a 19-2 run over the next 9:35 to take the lead for the first time, 58-55 after a Donaldson layup with 5:01 left.
Belmont Abbey answered and broke a 62-62 tie on a Ben Ferguson three at the 3:04 mark, but Tusculum equaled with a triple of its own. Both teams scored baskets before the one-minute mark, setting up the final action. Lane missed a jumper with 50 seconds left, but Abrom made a steal on Tusculum's next possession. However, his breakaway layup was blocked by Ronnie Baylark, giving the Pioneers their final chance.
Belmont Abbey 46.0 percent for the game and held a 35-33 edge on the boards, but Tusculum overcame the difference with five more made three-pointers (10-5).
Belmont Abbey return to action on Tuesday when its hosts Coker in the second half of a doubleheader against the Cobras.