MISENHEIMER, N.C. Ė Pfeiffer University found early foul trouble on Saturday night as Belmont Abbey shot 53.7% from the floor in an 89-83 victory over the Falcons in Conference Carolinas menís basketball action inside the Merner Gym. The Crusaders push their mark to 6-5 overall, 2-3 in conference play, while the Falcons fall to 5-4, 1-2.
In an explosive first half in which there were five ties and 11 lead changes, Chad Patus (Welland, ONTARIO) led all scorers with 15 points and six rebounds on four of five shooting from the field and seven of nine from the free throw line. Richard Barbee (Virginia Beach, VA) added nine points on three of eight shooting.
With Pfeiffer holding a 25-21 lead with 7:16 left in the stanza, the Crusaders exploded on a 12-0 run to take the biggest lead of the half for either team, seven points, at 32-25 with 5:23 left. The Falcons responded with a run of its own, an 11-3 flurry over the next five minutes to claim the lead for the eighth time at 36-35 with 2:02 remaining.
That lead lasted for 18 seconds as Patrick Kuhlman (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) drilled a three-pointer with 1:44 left, but Pfeiffer's Pettiway responded with a three-pointer of his own with 27 ticks left to give Falcons the edge at 39-38. Patus closed the half with two free throws with 17 seconds remaining to push the Abbey ahead 40-39 at the break.
Pfeiffer opened the half by scoring the first three baskets opening up a five point lead. The hosts would hold that lead, which never rose higher than seven points, for the first 14:30 of the second half before the Abbey began to chip away at the lead.
With the Crusaders trailing 66-60 with 8:23 left, the Abbey went on a 12-5 run over 2:57 to grab a one point lead with 5:30 left. A Patus free throw, followed by a Kuhlman three, closed the lead to two. Crowder struck again with a tri-fecta that moved the Falcon lead back to five, but a Phillips layup and a three by Barbee gave the Abbey a one point lead at 72-71.
Both teams traded baskets as Pfeiffer regained the lead at 76-74 with a three-point play by Josh Humphrey (Matthews, NC) with 3:35 left, but the visitors would take over from there. 12 seconds later, Phillips tied the game at 76 with a layup while Barbee gave the Crusaders the lead for good with a short jumper at the 2:19 mark. Pfeiffer cut the Abbey cushion to a pair at 80-78 with 1:53 remaining, but the Crusaders closed the game on a 9-5 run, with five of those points coming from the free throw line, as the Abbey sealed the win.
Barbee and Crowder tied for the game-high with 23 points. Patus followed with 20, Kuhlman 16 with Phillips and Pettiway tossing in 14. Chris Woods (Thomasville, NC) found himself in early foul trouble scoring just a half-dozen points on the night. Belmont Abbey held the team advantage in every offensive category except fouls. Pfeiffer was whistled for 26 errors on the night to the Crusaders 16.
The Falcons will look to get back on track Monday hosting the Coker Cobras. The Conference Carolinas menís contest will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.