The Belmont Abbey men's basketball team outscored North Greenville 41-30 in the second half after trailing by nine at halftime to force overtime, but North Greenville hit a jumper at the buzzer to steal an 85-84 win this evening in the Conference Carolinas season opener. North Greenville improves to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in Conference Carolinas, while Belmont Abbey drops to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in Conference Carolinas.
Belmont Abbey trailed 37-28 at the half but the Crusaders shot 50 percent from the field in the second half as they rallied back from a 12 point deficit.
The Crusaders turned a 45-33 deficit into a 47-46 lead in just six minutes as the Abbey rolled on a 14-1 run, capped off by a Chris Davis layup that put the Crusaders ahead for the first time since leading 14-12 at the 9:50 mark of the first half. Belmont Abbey forced six turnovers during the flurry as it fought back into the game.
From there the game was tightly contested until North Greenville went up by six at 58-52 with 7:18 to go, but the Abbey scored the next seven points, on a jumper from Jonathon Garrett and two from Justin Kuhlman, the last of which a three-pointer, which gave the Abbey a 59-58 edge with 4:11 left.
Two North Greenville free throws after a Darryl Durham jumper gave it a 62-60 lead, but Davis countered with two of his own to deadlock the contest with 2:43 showing. Those two free throws started a trend of the game's points coming from nowhere but the free throw line until North Greenville's Keith Jackson swished a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 68. Ryan Conrad gave the Abbey a three-point lead at 68-65 with 23 seconds left, but the half's final points came at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, North Greenville moved ahead 75-70, but the Abbey fought back with a 12-8 run, punctuated by a Drexler Clark jumper with 28 seconds left to tie the game at 82.
Four seconds later, after an Abbey foul, North Greenville made one of two free throws to move it ahead 83-82, but Conrad had an answer, swishing a long jumper with nine ticks left to put the Crusaders in front 84-83, but Jackson struck again, connecting on a long jumper, just inside the three-point line at the buzzer to give North Greenville the one point win.
Davis led four Crusaders in double figures with 20 points, 11 from the free throw line. He also had seven rebounds. Durham posted a double double with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Kuhlman added 18 points and five rebounds, while Garrett contributed 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists.