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Austin Crisp

PIPPA PASSES, KY: The Alice Lloyd College Eagles faced the Asbury University Eagles in an intense and exciting River States Conference match at the Grady Nutt Athletic Center on Thursday, February 1. In a contest that was exciting from start to finish, the hosts prevailed 108-97.

ALC entered the matchup leading the nation in scoring (95.3ppg) while Asbury was third (93.2ppg). AU won the first matchup 124-107, so the official scorer figured to get a serious workout before night’s end.

A large crowd was on hand and saw the home team ready to play against one of the Western Division’s top squads. Four different Eagles drained buckets to lift the hosts to a quick 9-0 lead. However, sparked by the play of the nation’s second-leading scorer, Trenton Thompson, the visitors would go on a 17-6 run over the next five minutes to lead 17-15.

Alice Lloyd would then respond with a balanced scoring attack to regain the lead. They would extend it to nine (46-37) before settling on a 50-43 lead at intermission. Three different Eagles had 9 points apiece at that juncture.

In the second half, Thompson and teammate Cliff Conley would lead their club to a resurgence. They opened the stanza with a blistering 17-6 run in just five minutes and roared to a 60-56 lead. The two squads would continue their torrid pace and when ALC freshman guard Timmy Dalton scored with 9:45 remaining, the contest was knotted once more at 71.

As the contest entered the crucial last ten minutes, different players would step up time-and-time again for the home club. Austin Crisp, Chance Cornett, and Blake Smith each drilled huge baskets from the perimeter while big Jake Allen and Simon Christon did damage on the inside. The gymnasium was electric as Alice Lloyd crept out to a 9 point advantage (90-81) at the 4:02 mark.

Naturally, AU refused to quit. Thompson and Conley would score 11 points over the next three minutes and lead their team back within just three (96-93) with one minute left to play.

In crunch time, the men from Caney Creek came through. First, Cornett would score on a strong move inside. After Asbury’s Thompson missed a contested three-point attempt, ALC’s Smith was fouled at .43. The sophomore guard coolly swished both attempts, and the score was suddenly 100-93. The visitors would get no closer than five the rest of the way as ALC closed the contest with a perfect 6-6 from the foul line.

For ALC (14-9; 7-7 RSC), six players reached double figures. They were led by Crisp with 23 points, 5 assists, and, 2 steals. Cornett added 21 points and 2 blocks. Dalton finished with 20 points and 2 steals. Smith added 18 of his own giving the Eagles four players with 18+ points. He completed the double-double with 10 rebounds. Allen and Christon both added 11 points.

The victors connected on 50.7% (35-69) from the field and 43.8% (7-16) from long range. They hit 79.5% (31-39) from the foul line and added 38 rebounds, 14 assists, and 6 steals.

AU (15-8; 8-5 RSC) was led by Thompson’s monster game with 40 points and 16 rebounds, and Conley with 21. Their club connected on 42.3% (33-78) from the field including an excellent 51.7% (15-29) from long range. They hit 69.6% (16-23) from the foul line and added 40 rebounds, 10 assists, and 6 steals.

Alice Lloyd’s contest scheduled for Saturday, February 3, at Hiwassee has been canceled. They will next return to the hardwood on Tuesday, February 6 for a huge conference matchup with the NAIA’s #17 ranked Indiana University Southeast Grenadiers for a 7:30 pm tipoff.