Dominant Second Half Lifts Men's Basketball Past Erskine, 89-67

Dominant Second Half Lifts Men's Basketball Past Erskine, 89-67

The Belmont Abbey men's basketball team outscored Erskine 54-31 in the second half after entering the break down 36-35 as the Crusaders earned their second straight victory with a convincing 89-67 win over Erskine this evening inside the Wheeler Center. Belmont Abbey improves to 8-11 overall and 4-5 in league play, while the Flying Fleet drop to 11-7 overall and 5-4 in Conference Carolinas.

Belmont Abbey led by as many as six in the first half but Erskine maintained the lead for most of the period until a late Abbey run put the Crusaders back on top.

Down 31-25 with 2:53 to go, the Crusaders went on a 10-3 run over the next two minutes to gain a 35-34 lead, capped off by a thundering dunk from Chris Davis which moved the Crusaders ahead for the first time since the 11:55 mark. Davis scored the last five points of the flurry, as he also buried a three pointer on the previous possession.

Davis's dunk which came with 22 seconds left, forced an Erskine timeout. After the pause, Erskine scored the final points of the half as Mike Gabbard sank a short jumper in the lane to stall the Abbey's momentum and give the Flying Fleet a 36-35 halftime edge.

The final 20 minutes was all Belmont Abbey, as the Crusaders controlled the action from the start. Erskine scored five of the first seven points of the half, but a three pointer from Justin Kuhlman at the 17:26 mark moved the Crusaders ahead for good at 43-41.

Kuhlman's conversion started a 25-12 run over the next eight minutes to extend the Crusaders lead to 12 at 65-53 with 10:04 to go.

From there, the lead stayed in double digits the rest of the way and never dipped below 11.

After an Erskine jumper with 6:26 left got the Fleet to within 11 at 73-62, the Crusaders kicked the offense into high gear, embarking on a 9-0 run, capped off by a Ryan Conrad three pointer that extended the lead to 20 at 82-62 with 4:11 showing and the final was 22 points, as Kendall Ratliff slammed home an alley-oop pass from Ray Chen with 31 seconds left, punctuating the 89-67 victory.

Darryl Durham led the Abbey with 19 points and ten rebounds, as he made eight of 13 from the field. He also had a blocked shot. Davis netted 17 and eight assists in 36 minutes. Conrad contributed 13 points and three assists, while Jonathon Garrett scored 12 points and hauled in eight rebounds.

The Crusaders shot 45.5 percent (30-66) from the field but made 18 of 33 in the second half (54.5 percent) while sinking 18-20 from the line.