In a contest that featured six ties and ten lead changes, Southern Wesleyan converted eight of ten free throws in the final two minutes to stall a Belmont Abbey comeback and pull away with an 88-79 Conference Carolinas victory this afternoon. The Warriors earn a season sweep of the series as they improve to 4-16 overall and 4-9 in league play, while the Crusaders drop to 1-20 overall and 1-13 in Conference Carolinas.
Freshman Markel Pollard led three Crusaders in double figures with 23 points, one shy of his career-high of 24, which he set in the first meeting against the Warriors. Nick Hough added 15 points while Drexler Clark added 14 points and Nicholas Fullard contributed 11.
Southern Wesleyan led 40-35 at halftime, but the Crusaders led for much of the period until a late Warriors run overtook the Abbey's advantage.
Belmont Abbey led by as many as six and held the lead until the Warriors deadlocked the contest at 24 with 7:14 to go. That started a 16-11 run to close the half sent the Warriors into the break leading by five at 40-35.
Southern Wesleyan maintained its lead for the remainder of the game, moving it to as high as 12 with just three minutes gone by. That culminated an 8-1 run to start the half and it made the score 49-37.
Belmont Abbey fought back to cut the deficit down to three three more times, but Southern Wesleyan converted from the line in the final two minutes, and the Crusaders could not get any closer than six points the rest of the way.
The Crusaders shot just 39 percent from the field and converted 10-36 from three-point range and 19-26 from the free throw line.
Southern Wesleyan shot 51 percent from the floor as four of five starters reached double figures.