Mars Hill, N.C. - Jonathan Whitson recorded his third double-double of the Tornados four game road trip, scoring a game-high 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as Brevard had five players score double figures in opening up the 2010 South Atlantic Conference schedule with a 91-77 win over Mars Hill College on Saturday afternoon.
Josh Roper added 19 points and a game-high five assists for Brevard (7-3, 2-0 SAC), connecting on three three-pointers., while Jacques Dovonou had 15 points and nine rebounds. Sam Carlisle had 14 points and eight rebounds and Darin Dellinger hit six straight free throws to end the contest in finishing with 10 points as Brevard went 24-34 (70.6 percent) from the free throw line in the win.
Mars Hill (4-6, 0-1 SAC) was led by Dion Malachi who went 8-12 from the free throw line in scoring 18 points, while leading the Lions with seven rebounds. Danny Sanders added 17 points, connecting on four three-pointers and added three blocked shots as the Lions blocked eight Tornados shot attempts in the game. Almir Krdzalic had 12 points and three steals off the bench for the Lions in the loss.
The Tornados opened the game with an 8-3 lead, breaking the full-court pressure as Whitson was able to convert a pair of layup attempts in the first two minutes of the game. Mars Hill came back as Sanders connected from behind the arc and Pickering put in the tip-in after a miss by Brittion Smith to put the game at 10-8 with 17:48 remaining in the first half.
Brevard would increase their lead to 10 at 34-24 with 9:50 on the clock as Roper scored 11 points for the Tornados in 4:30 minutes using a combination of layups and connecting on a three-pointer as the Tornados opened up the largest lead of the first half. With the score at 38-29 at 6:36 mark, the Lions went on an 11-2 run capped by a three-pointer by Sanders from the top of the key to tie the game at 40 with 2:57 remaining in the first half.
The Lions took their first lead of the opening period less than a minute later as Robin McElroy converted a layup as Mars Hill went up 42-41. The teams would not put another point on the board for the next two minutes before a pair of free throws by Dovonou with 32 seconds left in the opening period gave the Tornados a 43-42 lead. Carlisle sent the teams to the locker room with a dunk off the pass from Whitson with five seconds left on the clock as the Tornados held a 45-42 lead after the first 20 minutes.
The Lions scored the first four points of the second half on free throws as Sanders was able to convert his second attempt at the 17:53 mark to give Mars Hill the 46-45 lead. Brevard responded with a 13-3 run capped by a three-pointer by Roper as the Tornados went up 59-48 with 10:53 on the clock.
Mars Hill brought the game back to within six as Almir Krdzalic converted from behind the arc to put the score at 64-58 with 9:04 on the clock. Free throws by Dellinger and a jumper in the paint by Dovonou put the score at 70-58 before Whitson went on 12-11 run against the Lions as the senior forward converted all six field goal attempts in a 4:13 minute stretch as the Tornados held the 80-69 advantage. Dellinger was perfect from the free throw line, converting six straight attempts as the Tornados left Stanford Arena with the 91-77 win
Brevard finishes their four game road trip on Monday, January 4th, as they travel to Montreat, N.C. to take on the Montreat Cavaliers. The Tornados defeated the Cavaliers last season in Boshamer Gymnasium in overtime behind Whitson’s 17 point-six rebound effort. Tipoff between the Tornados and Cavaliers is set for 7:30 p.m.