SAC MEN’S BASKETBALL: Bears get shot at top-seeded Queens in semifinals

Published Saturday, March 9th, 2019

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne University’s men have an opportunity on Saturday they haven’t enjoyed in 10 years – a chance to get to the title game of the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) basketball tournament.

The Bears (20-9), led by coach Everick Sullivan, face top-seeded Queens (28-3) at 5 p.m. in Furman’s Timmons Arena, a game available for viewing on ESPN3.

LRU was the only league team to beat the Royals in the regular season, winning 92-79 when senior center Emmanuel Wembi came off the bench to go 7-for-7 and 2-for-2 from the free throw line for a team-high 16 points.

In that game, the Bears shot 60 percent from long range in the second half and 61.3 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes. Darius Simmons went 4-of-5 from long range and poured in 14 points in 17 minutes off the bench.

In the first head-to-head matchup, each team entered ranked in the top 25 but Queens came away with a 76-69 victory at Shuford Gym. The loss halted LRU’s seven-game winning streak, and the Bears shot just 24 percent from long range.

LRU reached 20 wins for just the second time in 11 years by beating Tusculum on the road in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

With a win over the Royals, LRU would advance to its first SAC Conference Tournament Championship game since 2005.

The last time the Bears cut down the nets at the tournament was in 2003.

Queens has advanced to consecutive SAC Championship games, winning in 2017 but falling to Lincoln Memorial a year ago.

  • Reported by LRU Sports Information


Wednesday’s quarterfinal results

No. 1 Queens 84, No. 8 Carson-Newman 75

No. 5 LENOIR-RHYNE 70, No. 4 Tusculum 58

No. 6 Wingate 80, No. 3 Lincoln Memorial 78

No. 2 Catawba 97, No. 7 Anderson, S.C. 77

Saturday’s semifinals

(at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C.)

No. 5 LENOIR-RHYNE (20-9) vs. No. 1 Queens (28-3), 5 p.m.

No. 6 Wingate (17-12) vs. No. 2 Catawba (22-7), 7:30 p.m.

Sunday’s championship

(at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C.)

Semifinals winners, 4 p.m.

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