Four Belmont Abbey starters scored at least 11 points as the Crusaders outscored Erskine 41-30 in the second half after the two teams were tied at 31 at halftime to earn a 72-61 road victory this evening in the regular season finale. Belmont Abbey records the season sweep of Erskine as it improves to 11-15 overall and finishes the conference schedule with a mark of 7-9. Erskine, which has one game remaining, falls to 14-11 overall and 7-8 in league play.
The Crusaders shot a sizzling 60.9 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes as redshirt freshman guard Ray Chen netted 13 of his team high 20 in the period. Belmont Abbey converted 14-23 from the field and held Erskine to just 11 field goals while outrebounding the Flying Fleet 22-9 in the period.
The two teams were deadlocked at 31 at halftime after posting nearly identical statistical lines. Belmont Abbey made half of its shots (11-22) while Erskine made 12 of 30 (40 percent). Both teams made five three-pointers and all six of free throw attempts (four for the Abbey, two for Erskine).
Belmont Abbey wasted no time seizing the lead for good in the second half, as it opened with a 15-6 run over the first 6:41 to open up a nine point lead. Erskine scored the next five points, but the Abbey responded by scoring the next seven unanswered to move its lead to double figures at 56-45 with 10:25 to go.
Erskine scored on its next possession to drop the lead back down to nine at 56-47 with 8:39 to play, but two Zach Sowell free throws at the 7:37 mark pushed the lead back to double figures, where it stayed for all but one other time, coming with 4:14 left on a three-point play from Mike Gabbard which sliced the lead to nine.
The Abbey's largest lead of the game came on two Justin Kuhlman free throws with 1:13 left, which raised the lead to 14.
A late Erskine three pointer closed the scoring.
The Crusaders shot 55.6 percent (25-45) for the game as Chen led the way with 20 points-one shy of his career-high-on seven of ten shooting. He made two of three from beyond the arc and swished all four of his free throws. He added four assists and two steals in 38 minutes. Darryl Durham added 17 points on seven of nine shooting with nine rebounds and two steals. Ryan Conrad netted 15 on five of 12 shooting, all from three point range, with two assists and two steals in 38 minutes. Kuhlman chipped in with 11 on three of four shooting with four assists and a steal.