Mars Hill Edges Armstrong, 73-69, On Friday
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Armstrong Atlantic State University women's basketball team fought back from a 13-point second-half deficit, but Mars Hill scored the final four points in the last 20 seconds to claim a 73-69 victory on Friday afternoon at Alumni Arena.
The Pirates (7-4) trailed the Lions (7-4) by 13, 56-43, with 14:06 remaining and it looked like Mars Hill would run away with the win. Armstrong went on a 12-0 run, however, over the next five minutes to close the gap to just one.
The game would stay within one possession either way until the final minute, and two free throws from Mauri Wells tied the contest at 69-all with 47 seconds remaining.
On the next possession, the Lions' Kristen Metcalf let fly a long-range three that missed the mark, but an offensive rebound and a putback by Danielle Tucker - two of her game-high 26 points - gave Mars Hill back the lead. Tucker missed the free throw on the three-point play opportunity, but Armstrong's Karolina Rykowska was tied up on the rebound, where the alternating possession rule gave the ball back to the Lions.
Tyler Carlson then canned two free throws after a foul with 15 seconds left to push the lead to four and clinch the victory for Mars Hill.
The Pirates forced 25 turnovers from the Lions, keeping Armstrong in the game that featured rusty shooting from both teams after the Holiday break - Mars Hill hit 26-of-68 shots from the floor (38.2 percent) while the Pirates hit 29-of-78 shots for just 37.2 percent. The Lions did enjoy a 57-44 edge in rebounding on the day.
"We struggled rebounding the ball today," Armstrong head coach Matt Schmidt said. "We gave up too much dribble penetration, and we did not rotate over to box out on the backside. In the end it cost us the game; as far as the game is concerned it really dictated the final outcome."
Wells notched her eighth double-double in 11 games with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Demisha Mills led the Pirates on the night offensively with 22 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the floor. Briana McFarland added 10 points as well for Armstrong.
Tucker also made 11-of-20 shots from the floor for the Lions, but added four free throws for her game-high 26 points to go with 14 rebounds. Armeka Booker was the only other player in double digits for Mars Hill with 11 points.
"I thought our team played hard," Schmidt said. "We played with a lot of effort and energy - Mars Hill played a very good basketball game and they came out on top. We need to have everybody do things just a little bit better in order to come out with a win in a game like that."
The Pirates return to action on Wednesday, January 4, traveling to Augusta State for a Peach Belt Conference matchup with the Jaguars at 5:30 p.m.