GREENWOOD – Armstrong State freshman Corey Tillery made eight 3-pointers and scored 34 points, leading the Pirates past the Lander Bearcats 87-78 in Peach Belt Conference action Saturday afternoon at Horne Arena.
Lander fell to 5-12 overall, 2-6 in the Peach Belt. Armstrong State improved to 7-11, 2-7.
Tillery hit 10 of 17 shots from the floor including eight of 13 from behind the 3-point arc and also made six of six free throws.
Kalen Clifton added 19 points on eight of 12 shooting from the floor for the Pirates. Denzel Council contributed 10 points while leading Armstrong State with seven rebounds and four blocked shots. KJ James scored 12 points for the Pirates and Jamison Jeffers led the team with six assists.
The Bearcats posted six double-figure scorers as JR Washington led the team with 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and has scored in double figures in each of his last 53 games.
Jarryd Coleman and TJ Knight also scored 12 points apiece for Lander, Telvin Gabriel added 11 points, while Clenzo Ross and Rahu Purdie each scored 10 points. Knight paced the Bearcats with three blocked shots. Chris Tate added eight points and six boards.
Lander took the lead midway through the first half when Coleman made back-to-backs 3s. The first came off Srdjan Ivic‘s steal, tying the game at 20-all and the next giving the Bearcats a 23-20 advantage at the 9:56 mark.
Ross made a long 3 from the left side and Tate followed with a layup, increasing Lander’s lead to 33-26 with 5:25 to go. But the Pirates scored the game’s next 11 points including a pair of Tillery 3s, giving the visitors a 37-33 advantage with 2:26 left in the first half.
Purdie’s 3 from the left corner with three seconds left pulled the Bearcats within 41-38 at halftime.
Gabriel’s dunk off Coleman’s bounce pass tied the game at 44-all with 18:24 to go and Purdie’s fade-away 3 from the right corner knotted the score at 47 with 17:32 left.
Tillery’s fourth and fifth 3s of the game gave Armstrong State a 55-47 lead with 15:32 to go. The freshman’s sixth 3 upped the Pirates lead to 60-53 at the 14-minute mark.
Ross made a layup to pull Lander within 60-58 with 12:44 to go, but Tillery made two more 3s as Armstrong State built its lead to 71-62 at the 10-minute mark.
Washington made a pair of free throws to pull the Bearcats within 72-68 with seven minutes to go.
But Clifton answered with a 3-pointer and the Pirates continued to extend their lead from there. James made a layup, increasing Armstrong’s lead to 81-69 with 2:24 left.
Washington’s three-point play cut Lander’s deficit to 81-74 with 1:19 to go. Washington hit the front end of a one and one to pull the hosts within six and a Bearcats teammate rebounded his second free throw but Lander could not convert. Then Tillery’s two free throws pushed the lead back up to eight.