Pippa Passes, KY: The Alice Lloyd College Eagles, under the guidance of Coach Scott Cornett, battled until the final horn but eventually succumbed at the hands of the visiting Montreat Cavaliers, 99-95. The season opener was played on October 29th before a solid crowd. MC entered the contest fresh off an NAIA DII National Tournament appearance last year and is a solid favorite to return this season.
In the opening half, things started on an ominous note for the home squad as Montreat’s top player, Austin Butler, went wild. The senior drilled 5 consecutive long bombs to help propel his club to a 26-8 cushion. The game was looking as it was headed for a huge blowout.
Enter ALC’s leading returning scorer, Blake Smith. The athletic guard began to connect from all areas of the court and led a resurgence. The Eagles then clamped down on the defensive end and closed the half on a massive 38-14 run to end the stanza. At intermission, Alice Lloyd would manage a 46-40 advantage.
In the second half, ALC would fight to hold the lead as the game stayed tight. With 5:30 remaining and the visitors leading 75-72, Smith was forced to exit the contest due to excessive leg cramps. The Cavaliers would then pull ahead by eight (87-79).
Smith would soon return and join sophomore guard Bryce Slone in drilling a deep trifecta to spark a 10-4 burst. With just 1:23 remaining, the deficit was reduced to just two (91-89).
Montreat would respond with a huge rebound bucket on the opposite end. The visitors would then close the deal by sinking their last four free throws.
For the victors (1-0), they had four players reach double figures, with Butlers 44 leading the way.
ALC (0-1) was led in scoring by Smith, who played exceptional with 39 points, 26 coming in the first half. He finished 13-24 from the floor and 5-8 from the long-range. He also added 5 rebounds. He was joined in double digits by junior guard Noah Young, who added a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Sophomore Colin Sturgill added 10 points and led the way with 7 rebounds.
Alice Lloyd shot 51.6% (33-64) from the floor, and 55% (11-20) from behind the arc. They finished 69.2%% (18-26) from the foul line.
MC finished shooting 45.4% (33-75) from the floor and a phenomenal 48.6% (18-37) from behind the arc. They shot 78.9% (15-19) from the foul line.
Alice Lloyd plays their next game on Friday, November 1st when they travel to Pikeville to face powerful Bethel University at 6:00 pm. Bethel also reached the NAIA DI National Tourney last season. They will follow that up with a contest on Saturday at 2:00 pm against Miami-Hamilton.
On Monday, November 4th, they host Kentucky Christian University at 7:30 pm.