Anderson, S.C. – The Lander men’s basketball team (0-1, 0-0 PBC) fell in the team’s season opener on Friday night against Carson-Newman (1-0, 0-0 SAC) by a score of 82-78. Senior forward Srdjan Ivic recorded a career-high 18 points in the losing effort. Additionally, five Lander players scored in double figures en route to the Bearcats highest scoring game in a season opener since 2014.
The two sides exchanged the lead early and often in the first half of action. Ivic and redshirt senior Sergio Smith recorded four points each to give the Bearcats an 11-9 advantage as the two teams headed to the game’s first media timeout at the 15-minute mark.
The Eagles mounted a 13-3 run out of the timeout behind the play of preseason All-American Charles Clark and senior guard Mason Bates to give Carson-Newman a 22-14 advantage. The Bearcats would respond however with three consecutive three-pointers with senior Jarryd Coleman accounting for two and junior Rahu Purdie adding another. With 6:25 remaining in the first half, the Eagles commanded a 28-25 lead ahead of the third media timeout.
Carson-Newman held tightly to its first half advantage in the remaining six minutes as the Eagles led by as many as eight points. Purdie connected on two straight three-point attempts in the final minute of the first half to cut the Carson-Newman lead to 46-41 as the two teams went to the break.
Junior guard Jordan Dingle joined on the action at the start of the second half as the South Carolina native poured in two straight threes to cut the Eagles lead to 50-49 with just over 16 minutes remaining in the game. A made layup by sophomore Nicklas Jonsson gave the Bearcats their first lead since the 13-minute mark in the first half.
The two teams traded the lead a total of nine times during the next nine minutes of action, before Eagles junior Grant Teichmann knocked in a three to give Carson-Newman their largest advantage since the start of the second half. Ivic and Coleman responded with five points to cut the Carson-Newman lead to 70-68 with 5:30 left in regulation.
Ivic found another basket after the game’s final media timeout at four minutes to tie the score at 72. Unwilling to relent, Carson-Newman came back with two straight field goals from sophomore Reece Anderson and senior Shaun Jones with 2:24 to go.
The Bearcats struggled to find a basket down the stretch as the team registered just one point in the next two minutes. With 12 seconds to go, Dingle drew a foul on a three-point shot attempt to give the Bearcats a sliver of life. The junior made all three shots from the line to cut the Carson-Newman lead to 78-76.
In the final seconds, Carson-Newman refused to open the door any wider for the Bearcats as the Eagles connected on four straight free throw attempts. One last gasp by Ivic came up short as Clark came up with his third steal of the game to capitalize on an 82-78 win for Carson-Newman.
Lander registered a 43.8 field goal percentage on the game while shooting 33.3 percent from deep. The Eagles outrebounded the Eagles 38 to 38 and committed seven turnovers to Lander’s eight.