Saturday’s roundup: Abbey gets historic win, East Lincoln-Lincolnton play rivalry thriller, Burns girls stay unbeaten
By Richard Walker
Ever since Belmont Abbey College became a four-year school in 1953, it had played 70 men’s basketball games including exhibitions against NCAA Division I competition before Saturday night.
That 71st meeting at the Charlotte 49ers provided some history for the Crusaders as they came away with a 75-72 overtime victory at Halton Arena.
It gives Belmont Abbey 10 wins over Division I schools all-time and the school’s first since it swept Longwood during that school’s transition year from NCAA Division II to Division I in the 2003-04 season. Other major college wins for Belmont Abbey have come against Richmond (1956), Catholic University (1960), Furman (1962), Old Dominion (1963 and 1978), Buffalo State (1974) and College of Charleston (2002).
Belmont Abbey won behind a late-game 25-4 surge that forced overtime and gave the Crusaders control of the contest in overtime.
Once behind by 19 points in the second half, the Abbey closed regulation on a 14-2 run to tie the score at 61.
Then the Crusaders scored 11 of the first 13 points of overtime.
L.J. McCoy (15 points), Quest Aldridge (12), Chandler Baker (11) and Sean Halloran (10) reached double figures to lead the Abbey, which plays again on Monday for a non-conference game at Emmanuel, Ga.
Aldridge’s 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in regulation forced the extra period and Halloran and Aldridge hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the scoring in the overtime period and McCoy later had a four-point play.
Halloran hit two free throws with 14 seconds left and McCoy one with 1.9 seconds left to seal the victory in a game that was originally slated for Nov. 30 in the 49ers Tip-Off Classic. The game was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues in the Belmont Abbey program before Charlotte was looking for an opponent when its Conference USA weekend games at Marshall were postponed due to COVID-19 issues in that program.
The contest counted as an exhibition game for the Abbey, which is 2-0 so far this season.
The schools – located 19 miles apart – hadn’t played since a 2012 preseason exhibition won 104-52 by Charlotte. Belmont Abbey’s Saturday night win gives the Crusaders a 10-3 all-time lead in a series that began on Dec. 5, 1963 at the Abbey’s old Haid Gymnasium in the last year of eventual Hall of Fame coach Al McGuire’s head coaching tenure at Belmont Abbey.
The loss dropped Charlotte to 5-5 on the season. The 49ers’ next game is next Friday at home against league rival UAB.
Winthrop 75, Gardner-Webb 65: Winthrop closed both halves strong to improved to 10-0 overall and 7-0 in the Big South against visiting Gardner-Webb (3-7, 2-3). The host Eagles ended the first half with 10 straight points and scored the game’s last four points in surges that proved decisive.
Jordan Sears scored a career-high 18 points and Jaheam Cornwall added 17 for Gardner-Webb, who will play at Winthrop again on Sunday at 1 p.m.
College women’s basketball
Charlotte 65, Marshall 56 (OT): Wearing its gold “Bold Rush” uniforms for the first time of the season, the 49ers rallied from behind to win in overtime to improved to 2-0 in Conference USA play for the first time since the 2017-18 season. Jada McMillian had a career-high 26 points and Dara Pearson had 11 points and 14 rebounds to lead Charlotte, which plays again next Friday at UAB at 3 p.m.
Belmont Abbey 80, Bluefield State 44: The Crusaders improved to 4-1 entering conference play on Friday at home against Barton as Maria Kuhlman scored 19 points.
High school boys basketball
East Lincoln 55, Lincolnton 54: Jeremiah Jones’ free throw with 1.4 seconds to give the Mustangs a dramatic come-from-behind victory in a South Fork 2A Conference game – and East Lincoln’s sixth straight win over its longtime rival. Evan Montanari led East Lincoln with a career-high 28 points and Jones had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Logan Craig added eight rebounds. Lincolnton got 12 points from Connor Williams and 10 from Gavin Queens.
East Lincoln visits North Lincoln on Tuesday in its next game while Lincolnton hosts Bandys on Tuesday.
Maiden 66, West Lincoln 46
Shelby 79, R-S Central 74
Burns 75, Chase 40
High school girls basketball
Burns 46, Chase 22: The Bulldogs improved to 2-0 in the Southwestern 2A Conference behind Tishiona Strong’s 12 points, Mya Cosby’s 11 and Esynce Howze’s 10. Burns plays at East Rutherford on Tuesday in its next game.
Shelby 84, R-S Central 47