GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The Tusculum College men’s basketball team erupted for a 25-3 run in the second half as the Pioneers recorded an 85-70 South Atlantic Conference win over Brevard College Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena.
Tusculum (8-11, 5-8 SAC) snaps a four-game losing streak while the Tornados (2-17, 0-13 SAC) remain winless in league play and suffer their seventh consecutive defeat. TC sweeps the season series over Brevard in the final conference meeting between the two schools as the Tornados will be leaving the league at the end of the year.
TC’s Kendall Patterson led all scorers with his game-high 21 points, including 15 in the opening half. Patterson went 9-of-14 from the floor, while dishing out a game-high seven assists. Freshman Trey Blevins finished with a season-high 15 points off the bench, including 11 straight in TC’s 25-3 run. Ronnie Baylark added 12 points, while Cory Fagan accounted for nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in his 32 minutes of action.
Brevard’s Stevie Williams led the visitors with 15 points and four assists, while D.J. Bostick and Shelby Parris accounted for 13 and 11 points, respectively.
With Tusculum leading 60-58 with 11:06 remaining the Pioneers scored 18 straight points over a span of 6:02 to take a 78-58 advantage. During the 25-3 spurt, TC went 11-of-12 from the floor, including a run of 10 in a row. Blevins connected on three consecutive treys in a span of 70 seconds and accounted for 11 straight points as the Pioneers blew the game wide-open. Patterson capped the run with an acrobatic layup as TC took its largest lead of the night at 85-61 with 2:55 to go.
The Tornados scored the final nine points of the contest to provide the final scoring margin.
Tusculum shot a season-high 59 percent from the floor, including 17-of-28 in the second half for 60.7 percent, but TC still trailed 45-42 at the intermission. Brevard fired 55.6 percent in the first period, but Tusculum clamped down defensively limiting BC to 29.2 percent shooting and 25 second half points. Brevard would end the game shooting 43.1 percent.
Tusculum dominated in the paint, outscoring the Tornados 54-14 in the lane and held a 19-8 edge in points off turnovers and a 16-0 advantage in fast-break points.
Connor Mitchell came off the TC bench to lead his all players with a career-high nine rebounds to go along with his six points.
Fagan, who shot 4-of-6 from the floor, also connected on one three-pointer, extending his school-record streak to 35 consecutive games with a trey, a string which began Jan. 9, 2016.
Tusculum head coach Michael Jones was not on the TC bench as he has been battling a 102-degree fever and flu-like symptoms, ending a 20-year run of 583 straight games as a collegiate head coach dating back to 1997. Assistant coach Jay Welborn served as TC skipper for Wednesday’s contest.
Wednesday was the 22nd meeting between the Tusculum and Brevard in a series which began in 2006. TC leads the all-time series 15-7, including victories in the last four encounters. Jones, who served as head coach at Brevard for 12 seasons from 1999-2011, now owns an 8-4 record against his former school.
Tusculum returns to action on Saturday as the Pioneers travel to Wingate University for a 4 p.m. tip-off at Cuddy Arena. The Pioneers won this year’s first meeting 88-85 in November, but the Bulldogs have emerged as the hottest team in the league as they enters Saturday’s rematch riding a nine-game winning streak, its longest in nine seasons.