The Belmont Abbey men's basketball team rallied back from an 11 point second half deficit as it took the lead for good with a minute left to stun the King Tornado 89-84 this evening inside the Wheeler Center on Senior Night. King, which is in second place in the league standings, has now lost two-straight after winning its previous three games. It falls to 13-11 overall and 10-4 in league play, while the Abbey, which was playing for the final time at home this evening, improves to 10-14 overall and 6-8 in Conference Carolinas.
Belmont Abbey trailed 49-41 at the half and was down 52-41 as Hunter LeVeau opened the second half with a three pointer that matched the larges lead of the game for the Tornado.
King answered every Abbey charge, as the Crusader pulled as close as three on a Drexler Clark layup with 13:26 to go, but the Tornado used a 12-5 flourish to extend their lead back to double digits at 75-65 with 9:43 to play.
Belmont Abbey then made its move, as Ryan Conrad started an 11-1 run that pulled the Abbey level with the Tornado, at 76-76 with 6:19 left.
Conrad swished a three while he was knocked over by LeVeau. He sank the free throw to cut the deficit to five.
After a free throw on the other end pushed the lead back to six, Clark slammed home a rebound of a missed Kendall Ratlliff three pointer. He was fouled while airborne, and his free throw cut the lead to three.
King turned the ball over on its next possession and the Crusaders had an answer, as Conrad buried a three to bring the contest to a 76-76 stalemate with 6:19 left.
The Tornado countered with a three pointer, but two Ray Chen free throws, followed by two more from Conrad, gave the Abbey its first lead since the 18:34 mark of the first half when it led 4-3.
The lead was short lived, as C.J. Good swished a three on the next King possession to move the Tornado back on top. That was answered again by Conrad, who banked home a floating jumper in the lane to tie the game at 82 with 2:20 to play.
A King turnover on its next trip turned into a foul of Darryl Durham, whose two free throws gave the Crusaders an 84-82 lead with 1:49 showing.
32 seconds later, King tied the game for the last time when Clark fouled Michael Fourtune, who made both of his free throws with 1:23 left.
Those would be the last King points of the night as the Abbey moved back in front for good on a Justin Kuhlman three with 1:02 left.
With less than a minute to go, King fired up a three pointer that was off the mark. Clark grabbed the rebound and sped down the court, weaving around the Tornado defenders. His layup missed, giving King another life.
With 17 seconds left, LeVeau stepped out of bounds, turning the ball back over to the Abbey. After a Tornado timeout, Kuhlman was fouled with 16 seconds left.
Still leading 87-84, Kuhlman missed both free throws. King grabbed the second rebound and stormed down the floor. With eight seconds left, Logan Lyle went up on a contested three pointer from Clark, and his shot was off the mark. Durham grabbed the rebound, was fouled and he made both free throws with six seconds left to seal the win.
Durham posted his fifth double double of the year with 20 points and ten rebounds. Conrad added 17 and Kuhlman netted 16 in all 40 minutes. Chen contributed 14. Belmont Abbey shot 52.7 percent (29-55) from the floor.