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Anderson edges Tusculum 69-68 in SAC clash

Dashaunte Smith recorded his second double-double of the year in Thursday's loss to Anderson
Dashaunte Smith recorded his second double-double of the year in Thursday's loss to Anderson

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Anderson's Randall Shaw canned the winning basket with 10.1 seconds remaining and the Trojans turned away two shots at the end to preserve a 69-68 South Atlantic Conference win at Tusculum Thursday night at Pioneer Arena.

Shaw led Anderson (6-12, 4-6 SAC) with a game-high 21 points, including a dozen in the second half as he went 7-of-11 from the floor and made five of his six 3-point tries.  AU's Jeremy Boulton finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Gage Ellis tallied 12 points and eight boards in the victory.

Tusculum freshman Dashaunte Smith paced the Pioneers (5-12, 3-7 SAC) with his second double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 rebounds.  Donovan Donaldson added 11 points and four assists, while redshirt freshman Dustin Day accounted for 11 points and converted a clutch three-point play with 19.9 seconds remaining to give the Pioneers a 68-67 lead.

The Trojans scored the first six points of the game while the Pioneers missed its first nine field goal attempts in the opening 5:33 before junior Peyton Woods broke the drought with a jumper.

Shaw connected on back-to-back triples as Anderson led 16-9 with 11 minutes remaining in the half.

TC responded with a 9-1 run which was capped off by a Zach Hartle three-pointer at the six-minute mark to give the Pioneers their first lead of the night at 20-19.  TC would lead 23-21 with 4:11 left before the Trojans closed out the half with a 9-0 run sparked by a dunk from Rakish Taylor triple as the visitors took a 30-23 lead into the locker room.  During the AU run, the Pioneers would miss its final five shots of the period.

Baskets from Ellis and Boynton extended the Anderson lead to double digits to start the second half at 34-23 with 19:24 left on the clock.

Trailing 38-28 with 17:32 to go, Donaldson connected on a pull-up three-pointer to get to within seven at 38-31.  Boulton answered with a jumper before rookie Zailan Peeler drained a trey to get TC to within six at 40-34 with 15 minutes left.

Two made free throws by Boynton extended the AU lead back to eight (42-34) before the Pioneers went on a 9-1 run with Malik Tyree tying the game at 43-43 with his three-point play at the 12:40 mark.

Anderson responded with nine unanswered points over the next three minutes including a Shaw triple, four points from Boulton and dunk from Josh Livingston as AU pushed the lead back to nine at 52-43 with 9:45 remaining.

Tusculum trimmed the deficit to five (52-47) thanks to a pair of Hunter Parrish free throws and a Day offensive rebound and put pack with 8:12 left.

Shaw made one of two free throws and Boulton converted a turnover into a three-pointer as the Trojans led by nine again at 56-47 with 7:13 left on the clock.

Tusculum followed with a 10-2 run thanks to 3-poitners from Day and Parrish and four made free throws from Smith as the Pioneers trailed 58-57 with 4:20 on the scoreboard.

Shaw buried his fifth trey of the night and capped a 5-0 run with another jumper following a timeout as the Trojans led 63-57 with three minutes remaining.

Smith was fouled as he made a pair of free throws with 2:38 left to cut the lead to four and Donaldson made a clutch three-pointer with 2:05 left as the Pioneers trailed by one at 63-62.

Anderson converted on its next possession as Livingston was fouled on his scored on a layup with 1:44 left to extend the lead to 65-62. He would miss the free throw, as both teams came up empty on its next two trips down the floor.

With 1:17 to go Ellis scored on a layup to make it a five-point game at 67-62.  Donaldson tried to get off a three-point shot but he was fouled with 1:06 to go. He would make all three free throws to make it 67-65 Anderson.

Shaw would come up empty on his layup try with the rebound going out of bounds to the Pioneers with 35 seconds left.  After a TC timeout, Donaldson got off a contested jumper which was no good. There was a mad scramble underneath the bucket which was hauled in by Day to put in the game-tying layup and was fouled with 19.9 seconds left. Going to the free throw line for the first time in his career, he converted the three-point play to give TC its first lead of the half.

Anderson moved the ball to mid-court before calling a timeout with 16.5 seconds remaining.  The Trojans went to the player who was hot as he drove to the paint and got off a one-handed 13-foot floater that went in for the go-ahead basket with 10:1 seconds to go.

With no timeouts, Donaldson drove the length of the floor and got off an off-balanced jumper on the baseline that was no good. The loose ball went out of bounds to Tusculum with 0.7 seconds left.  After an Anderson timeout, TC got the ball to Brandon Jackson, but his contested jumper was off target as the Pioneers dropped its second one-point loss of the year.

Anderson finished the game shooting 47.2 percent from the floor including 14-of-25 in the second half (56%). TC shot 32.4 percent for the game including 28.6 percent in the first half as TC went 1-of-16 (6.3%) from three-point land. Tusculum bounced back in the second half going 8-of-17 from beyond the arc (47%), but could only manage 4-of-16 shooting on its two-point tries in the final 20 minutes.

Tusculum dominated the glass by a 49-32 margin as the Pioneers pulled down a season-high rebound total. TC out-rebounded Anderson 17-1 alone on the offensive boards resulting in a 19-2 advantage in second-chance points.

Parrish finished with seven points and a career-high nine rebounds.  Peeler tallied eight points, while Woods and Ronnie Baylark tallied five points each in the TC loss.

Tusculum is back on the road for back-to-back games against nationally-ranked opponents beginning with a rematch with No. 4 Queens.  The Royals defeated Tusculum 77-63 last month at Pioneer Arena.

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