The Belmont Abbey men's basketball team shot 55 percent from the field as four Crusaders reached double figures, led by senior guard Chris Davis's 21, as the men's basketball team opened the 2013-14 season with a 92-81 win over the visiting Clayton State Lakers in the season-opener for both teams.
Belmont Abbey led by just two at the half, but a 16-10 run to begin the second allowed the Abbey to pull away and outscore the Lakers 47-38 in the final 20 minutes.
Senior guard Chris Davis scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half on five of eight shooting, while in the second half, it was Darryl Durham who did the damage, scoring 12 of his 17 points in the second half, most of which came on that opening surge to begin the final stanza.
The Crusaders opened the game on a 9-3 run but the Lakers fought back to close the lead to 12-10, but the Abbey had an answer, using a pair of three-pointers from Davis and another from Ray Chen. Ryan Conrad tacked on three free throws which extended the Abbey's lead to 26-20 with 9:35 to go in the first.
Clayton State made another run at the Crusaders lead, as it would eventually move ahead 36-35 on the heels of a 16-6 run with 5:15 left.
One minute later, two free throws from Chen moved the Abbey back in front 37-36, and Kendall Ratliff extended the lead to three with his first collegiate points at the 3:20 mark.
After a mini-run by Clayton State gave it a 41-39 edge, a running layup by Chen started a 6-0 run for the Crusaders to give the Abbey a 45-41 lead, but the Lakers Sirdarius Henry connected on a buzzer beater to chop the lead to 45-43 at the break.
The second half started with a flurry of offense by Durham, who scored ten of the Abbey's first 16 points. His last basket of the run, at the 14:05 mark, extended the Crusaders edge to 61-53.
The Lakers closed to within five, but the Abbey had an answer, as Ratliff widened the lead to seven. After two Clayton State free throws, Durham started a 13-7 run, with nine of the points coming from Garrett, who saw his first significant action of his career.
Garrett's last jumper of the run moved the Crusaders ahead 81-68 with under four minutes to go, and the Lakers offense stalled from there, as Clayton State scored only nine points in the final three minutes, while the Abbey connected on all of its free throws in the final minute after the Lakers were forced to foul.
Davis finished with 21 points on six of 12 shooting from the floor. He also made all seven of his free throw attempts. He added four rebounds, three assists and a steal. Garrett added 20 on eight of ten shooting including a perfect three for three from three-point range. He added eight rebounds and three steals. Durham totaled 17 points and nine rebounds to go along with a blocked shot. Ryan Conrad contributed ten points, eight of which came from the free throw line. The Crusaders were 25-27 from the stripe.