BELMONT, N.C. - Alex Busch scored 20 points to lead Belmont Abbey to an 81-78 comeback win against King University (TN) on Senior Night. The victory improves The Abbey to 18-8 on the season, including a 15-4 conference record. The Tornado are now 13-12 overall and 10-8 in Conference Carolinas play.
The early part of the game was back and forth, with both teams trading leads. By the three minute mark of the first, King built a nine-point lead. A jumper by Keyanna Spivey and a free throw by Allie Downing made it a 25-17 King advantage at the end of the first quarter. In the second, King again built a lead, but Busch scored five straight Abbey points to keep the Crusaders within striking distance. At halftime, the Tornado held a 48-30 advantage.
A layup from Spivey early in the third sparked a 13-2 run by Belmont Abbey. During the stretch, Downing made two 3-pointers in a row for The Abbey. A 3-point shot from Hannah Roney pulled the Crusaders closer, at 56-46. In the closing seconds of the period, Briana Grier made a layup to make it a 65-58 game heading into the final period. The Crusaders outscored the Tornado 28-17 in the third quarter.
Busch nailed a 3-pointer for the first basket of the fourth, pulling The Abbey to within four at 65-61. A 3-pointer from Roney and a jumper by Busch with 4:55 left tied the game at 69. Then Grier scored four Crusader points in a row to notch the game at 73 with 3:19 tpo play. Another Busch 3-point shot put The Abbey in front 78-73. Then with the game tied at 78, Roney nailed a 3-pointer to give The Abbey the 81-78 victory.
On the night, Busch's 20 points led the Crusaders' offensive efforts. Grier scored 10 points and handed out a season-high 10 assists. Tsitouris contributed 12 points and nine rebounds.
Belmont Abbey will wrap up its regular season at Lees-McRae College on Tuesday, February 20. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.