Brevard, N.C. - Josh Roper scored 20 points in the second half as the Tornados held off a late rally by Wingate in the first round of the 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference tournament at the free throw line as Brevard advanced to the semifinals with the 88-79 victory.
Roper led the way with 30 points and eight assists, while Nathan Whitmire had 13 points in the first half on his way to 18 points, hitting three three-pointers and pulling down eight rebounds as Brevard (19-9) connected on 56.6 percent (30-53) of their field goal attempts in the game. Jonathan Whitson had 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds in 35 minutes to finish in double figures, while Drew Schauss added nine points off the bench on three three’s.
Paidrick Matilus led five Wingate (14-14) players in double figures with 17 points, while Odell Turner had 17 points and eight rebounds. Jaime Vaughn, Quan Alexander and Larry Staley each recorded double figures as Wingate shot 42.6 percent from the floor in the game.
Wingate opened up the game scoring the first four points as Turner placed in a jumper and Staley connected inside the arc, but the Tornados responded by scoring the next nine points capped by Roper’s layup as Brevard was up 9-4 at the 17:49 mark.
The Tornados continued to press the scoring; connecting on 71.4 percent of their field goal attempts in the first half, on their way to a 17-point lead on Whitson’s jumper at the 7:10 mark to put Brevard up 42-25.
Brevard would go up by 18 at the 1:48 mark on Roper’s layup, but Wingate would close out the first half with a 9-0 run to put the score at 47-38 at the half.
Wingate would come out scoring the first seven points of the second half to cut the lead to two before taking their first lead since the opening minute of the game on Matilus’ three-pointer at the 14:23 mark to give the Bulldogs the 52-51 lead.
The game would remain in single digits for the remainder of the contest. David Johnson hit a three-pointer to give Wingate their final lead of the contest at the 11:55 mark at 58-57, but a free throw by Whitmire tied the game up and Shane Galloway put Brevard ahead for good with a pair of free throws at the 10:49 mark.
The Tornados built their largest lead of the second half at eight on Roper’s three-pointer with 4:24 remaining to put the score at 76-68. Wingate would bring the game back to within four on scores by Alexander and Vaughn, but the Tornados would again go up riding free throws by Darin Dellinger and Whitson before a layup by Whitson capped the scoring in the contest as the Tornados won, 88-79.
The Tornados advance to the semifinal round on Saturday, March 6th, as third-seed Brevard will take on seventh-seed Carson-Newman, who advances after upsetting second-seed Tusculum at Catawba Valley Community College. Tipoff for the contest is set for 2:30 p.m.