(DANVILLE, V.A.) — Two free throws with seven seconds remaining in the game lifted Virginia-Lynchburg past The Pride men’s basketball team on Friday at the Averett University Classic. Friday’s season opener featured a back-and-forth battle in which neither team was able to grab full control.
Greensboro trailed 74-68 with 4:24 remaining in the game but fought back with six unanswered points to tie the game with 1:03 left. The run was sparked by a pair of buckets by Luqman Tijani, sandwiched around a jumper by Raheem Martin.
With 23 seconds on the clock, Linas Janenas converted two free-throws to put Virginia-Lynchburg back on top 76-74. Chakiris Moss appeared to send the game into overtime with a lay-up on the other end with eight seconds to go, tying the score again at 76-76.
However, a quick foul whistled on The Pride out of a timeout put Chrisopher Calvan on the line with seven ticks left. Calvan made both attempts to put the Dragons ahead 78-76, and a game winning three-point attempt by Tijani was off target at the buzzer.
The game was close throughout, with the largest lead being seven points, met once by both teams in the second half
Greensboro held an advantage of 31-26 in the first half, following a 6-0 spurt. Virginia-Lynchburg answered with a rally of its own, sending the game into the break with The Pride holding a narrow 36-35 lead.
Greensboro broke open a tight start to the second frame, scoring seven straight points to take a 52-45 lead at the 13:43 mark.
The Dragons would again come from behind, regaining the lead at 55-54 with 10:20 remaining. An 8-0 run a few minutes later would leave Virginia-Lynchburg on top 68-61 heading into the final stretch.
The Pride finished the game shooting 46.9% from the floor and 31.6% from beyond the arc. The Dragons, meanwhile, hit on 50.0% of their field goal attempts but were limited to 30% shooting from three-point territory. Overall, Greensboro outrebounded Virginia-Lynchburg on the evening 35-32.
Tijani led all scorers with 23 points. Damian Dixon contributed 15 points and a game high nine rebounds, while Moss added 11 points and dished out eight assists. Tracy Jester also reached double figures off the bench with ten points.
With the loss, The Pride are now 0-1 on the season. Greensboro will look to rebound on Saturday against Montreat at the Averett University Classic. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. at Danville, VA.