AASU splits with Lander

SAVANNAH, GA - The Armstrong Atlantic State University men's basketball team scored 11 of the last 13 points tonight, snapping a 60-all tie to come away with a 71-62 Peach Belt Conference victory over visiting Lander on Wednesday evening at Alumni Arena.

The Pirates (10-5, 4-3 PBC) won their second straight and improved to6-2 at home with the win, while Lander (7-8, 1-7 PBC) fell for the fourth time in its last five contests in the new year.

Arrmstrong hit 17-of-30 shots from the floor in the first half (56.7 percent) to build a 40-27 lead at halftime. The Pirates stretched that lead to 15 on three separate occasions, the latest coming on a pair of Brett Goodwell free throws with 13:14 left to make the score 53-38, but Lander embarked on a 22-7 run to come all the way back and tie the score at 60-all on a free throw by Calvin Liptrot with four minutes remaining.

Chris Edwards' jumper with 3:08 left put the Pirates back on top, 62-60, then Jesse Wheeler and Chris Vanlandingham made shots on back-to-back possessions to extend the lead to six, 66-60, with 1:32 left. Armstrong then hit five of six free throws in the final 30 seconds to clinch the victory.

"Its just typical of our style so far this season," Armstrong head men's basketball coach Jeremy Luther said. "Our kids seem to relax a bit and we let the team back into the game.  We've just got to man up and do a better job in games."

Wheeler finished the night with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor and 5-of-7 shooting from the free throw line, while Edwards finished the night with 13 points. Vanlandingham added 12 points and Grant Domsic chipped in 10 points off the bench for the Pirates, who played in front of a season-high crowd of 1,506 at Alumni Arena.

"We had a great crowd and great atmosphere this evening," Luther said.

I told the team before the game that if you want this crowd to be with you, you've got to play hard and give them and exciting game and we did that."

SAVANNAH, GA - The top-ranked Lander women's basketball team claimed a win in its first game since ascending to the top of the WBCA Division II Top 25 rankings with an 88-71 Peach Belt Conference victory over host Armstrong Atlantic State University on Wednesday afternoon in Savannah.

It was just the second time in the Peach Belt era that the host Lady Pirates (7-8, 3-4 PBC) have faced a top-ranked squad and Lander (18-0, 8-0 PBC) used a big 35-12 edge in points off turnovers to come away with the victory.

Lander jumped out to a 39-22 lead at halftime and stretched that lead to 24 points, 48-24, on a pair of Shannon McKever free throws with 17:22 remaining in the game. Armstrong climbed back into the game with a 14-3 run over the next two and a half minutes, using a layup by Jazmin Walker to cut the lead to 12, 50-38, with 14:58 remaining.

"The difference for us during that stretch was that we valued the basketball and made shots," Armstrong head women's basketball coach Matt Schmidt said. "And when you aren't able to do both against them, the game can get away from you real fast."

The Lady Bearcats answered with a 12-2 run of its own over the next three and a half minutes to stretch the lead back out to 22, 62-40, to allow Lander to earn the win.

Lander placed three players in double figures as well, led by Ciara Lyons' game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor. Mukia Myrick added 18 points and McKever scored 17 points - all in the second half - to become Lander's all-time leading scorer in women's basketball history with 1,474 career points.

Armstrong placed a trio of players in double figures, led by Mauri Wells and Arpine Amirkhanyan, who each collected 17 points. Brooke Long added 13 points off the bench.

"I'm real proud of the effort of these kids tonight," Schmidt said.  "They played hard for 40 minutes against the No. 1 team in the nation. If we can get this kind of effort and consistency the rest of the way, we will be fine."