Cougars use late run to best Bucs

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TENNERTON — Lincoln used an 11-0 run in the early stages of the fourth quarter to pull away from Buckhannon-Upshur, 52-37, Monday night in the Big 10 Conference opener for both teams.

The Bucs of first-year coach Travis Foster led throughout the first half and the squads exchanged baskets in the third quarter with the Cougars eventually taking a three-point edge, at 31-28, into the final frame.

B-U tied the game at 31-31 on a 3-pointer by Holden Edwards and again at 33-all on Logan Hitt’s layup off a steal with six minutes left before the Cougars took control.

A layup by Payton Moore and a 3-pointer from Jacob Kellar ignited Lincoln’s game-changing run, which resulted in a 44-33 advantage after four straight points from Jonathan Leep with 3:30 left in the contest.

Dawson Lilly ended the run with a pair of free throws to get the Bucs back within nine, at 44-35, but the Cougars ended the game on an 8-2 surge to take the 15-point win at game’s end.

B-U used the early play of  Jeremiah Nicola to construct a 10-6 lead after one quarter. The 6-foot-3 senior scored seven of his team-high 13 points in the opening frame, while senior guard Taylor Whitehair added a 3-pointer.

The Bucs found themselves down by an 18-14 count in the second quarter before they scored the  final eight points of the half to take a 22-18 edge into the intermission. Holden Edwards bucketed four points, Nicola added a short layin and Greyson Shepherd knocked down a pair of free throws to account for the points during the surge.

It appeared the lead would be six at the break, but Brayden Cutlip’s late layin was waved off by the referees.

The Cougars scored the first eight points of the second half to take a 26-22 cushion at the 4:25 mark of the third. B-U closed the deficit to one, at 27-26, on a Nicola basket and Cutlip added a deuce with 11 ticks left in the quarter to make it a 31-28 Lincoln lead entering the final quarter.

Nicola was the lone Buccaneer to reach double figures with his 13-point effort. Edwards added seven and Lilly, Shepherd and Cutlip four each.

Cutlip also grabbed 11 rebounds and nabbed two steals, Drew Heatherly and Lilly dished out two assists each and Hitt tallied a pair of steals.

The Bucs connected on just 15-of-41 of their field-goal attempts for 36.6 percent, while the Cougars hit 18-of-42 from the field(42.8 percent) and 5-of-17 from the 3-point line.

Leep tallied a game-high 17 points and collected six rebounds for Lincoln (2-0, 1-0 Big 10), followed by Kellar with 10.

B-U (0-2, 0-1 Big 10) will return to action at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday against Cabell Midland in the IOGA Classic being held at Glenville State’s Waco Center.

The boxscore:

Lincoln (2-0, 1-0 Big 10)

Jonathan Leep 6 3-4 17, Kobie Carpenter 2 0-0 4 Payton Moore 2 1-3 6, Ryan Leep 2 1-3 5, Jacob Kellar 3 3-4 10, Cory Fazalare 3 1-2 8, William Lemley 0 2-2 2, Mikey Brennan 0 0-0 0, Izzik Haymond 0 0-0 0, Zach Snyder 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 11-18 52

Buckhannon-Upshur (0-2, 0-1 Big 10)

Jeremiah Nicola 6 1-3 13, Taylor Whitehair 1 0-0 3, Dawson Lilly 1 2-2 4, Holden Edwards 3 0-0 7, Greyson Shepherd 1 2-2 4, Brayden Cutlip 2 0-0 4, Logan Hitt 1 0-0 2, Drew Heatherly 0 0-0 0, Austin Bowen 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 5-7 37

Lincoln                          6 12 13 21 — 52

Buckhannon-Upshur 10 12   6   9 — 37

3-point goals: Lincoln 5-17 (Jonathan Leep 2-4, Moore 1-2, Kellar 1-1, Fazalare 1-1, Brennan 0-1, Carpenter 0-5, Haymond 0-1, Snyder 0-1), B-U 2-12 (Whitehair 1-8, Edwards 1-1, Lilly 0-1, Shepherd 0-2). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Lincoln 22 (Jonathan Leep 6), B-U 25 (Cutlip 11). Assists — Lincoln 13 (Jonathan Leep, Ryan Leep and Fazalare 3), B-U 5 (Heatherly, Lilly 2). Total fouls — Lincoln 11, B-U 15)

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