BANNER ELK, N.C. - For the second time in as many years, Pfeiffer and Lees-McRae battled into overtime in Banner Elk as tonight's game took three overtimes to crown a winner. Unfortunately, the Falcons (6-8, 3-6 CC) came out on the wrong end of a 111-101 defeat on Saturday afternoon. AJ Clark scored 30 points, two shy of his career-high, and was one of five players in double figures on the night as Pfeiffer dropped to 3-3 in road games this season.
Lees-McRae (9-7, 4-5) was led by Jacquise Moore who finished with 31 points and Sean Deniton who had 25.
The conference battle featured 17 ties and 13 lead changes in 55 minutes of play. Despite trailing by 14 early in the second half, Pfeiffer continued to battle throughout regulation and the three overtime periods.
The Falcons trailed 48-34 with 19 minutes to play in the second half and used a 26-12 run over the next 11 minutes to tie the game at 60. The lead would change hands multiple times before a quick 4-0 spurt capped by a Clark layup put Pfeiffer ahead 74-72 with 1:46 left to play. Moore answered with a jumper on the other end and the game entered its first overtime period.
An early three pointer from Clark erased a one point deficit and gave Pfeiffer a lead with 2:49 left to play. Josh Calhoun would go 1-for-2 from the line to push Pfeiffer's lead to three but Moore again had the answer as his layup drew the Bobcats to within one with 46 seconds to go. Clark would go 1-for-2 from the charity stripe, setting the stage for a bucket in the paint from Deniton to send the contest to double overtime.
Lees-McRae took the upper hand with 1:26 to go as Deniton converted two free throws to put his team up two. Pfeiffer came up empty on their ensuing possession and Deniton went to the line with five seconds left, having a chance to seal the game. Thankfully for Pfeiffer, Deniton missed one and Pfeiffer called a timeout with five seconds left, trailing 91-88. Mike Smith took the inbounds pass and sped up court before finding Clark who nailed a triple as the buzzer expired, sending the game to its third OT.
Clark again knocked down a three to erase a one point deficit and give his team a 96-94 lead at the 3:19 mark. However, the hosts would respond with a 10-0 run over the next 2:26 to seize control of the game. Smith fouled out early in the period and the Falcons would only muster three field goals over the final 4:18 with the sophomore on the bench.
Calhoun finished the game with 18 points and Smith and Andrew Guerrero each finished with 15. Mackly Bien-Aime recorded a career-high 12 points and nine rebounds in the loss. Clark played a staggering 51 minutes in the contest and Calhoun saw 49 minutes of action.
The Falcons held a 48-43 lead on the glass and shot 49.3 percent from the field, including a 59.3 mark in the second half. The Bobcats were able to convert 26 Pfeiffer turnovers into 37 points, which may have determined the outcome.
The 101 points scored by Pfeiffer was its highest total of the season and the most since producing 114 points on Jan. 29 at Bluefield St. Last year, the two teams played a single overtime game with Pfeiffer coming away victorious 106-99.
The win by Lees-McRae was just the fourth time the Bobcats have beaten Pfeiffer since 2000.
Unfortunately for Pfeiffer, the Falcons don't have much time to rest before their next contest. Pfeiffer heads to Gaffney, SC to take on Limestone on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.