BANNER ELK — After a grueling non-conference schedule against some of the top Division 2 teams in the nation, the Lees-McRae Bobcats have settled in and are currently in a tie for first place in Conference Carolinas.
LMC is 11-8 overall but 7-2 in conference play, tied with Emmanuel College, King University and Barton College atop the standings.
After a tough conference loss at Limestone to start the month of January, the Bobcats have won four of its last five contests, including a 95-89 win over Barton on Tuesday night.
Austin Anderson was on fire from the field, hitting 8-of-13 shots and 5-of-9 from beyond the three-point arc, on the way to a game-high 27 points. Anderson added 13 rebounds and four steals, capping off a big win for the Bobcats. Lepreece Lynch dropped in 19 points, Chad Hicks scored 14 off the bench and Jonathan Honore scored 10 points to go with a team-high six assists.
Overall, the Bobcats shot 46-percent from the field and a blistering 46-percent from three-point range.
For Barton, the team shot well from the field overall at 50-percent, but struggled from three-point range at just 30-percent.
Daniel Westbrook led Barton with 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Dominique Byrd scored 17, Danny Shand had 15, R.J. Claypool scored 12 and Jake Veasley scored 12.
So far this year, the Bobcats are averaging 83 points per game and have been tough to beat at home, holding a 5-1 record at Williams Gymnasium.
The Bobcats have three more Conference Carolinas games coming up to wrap up the month of January. LMC will host Pfeiffer this Saturday, travel to Erskine on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and return home on Friday, Jan. 29 to host Southern Wesleyan. LMC has already beaten all three of those teams earlier in the season.
Conference Carolinas standings
*As of Jan. 19
T1. Emmanuel: 12-3, 7-2
T1. Barton: 12-5, 7-2
T1. King: 12-5, 7-2
T1. Lees-McRae: 11-8, 7-2
5. Mount Olive: 10-7, 5-4
6. Pfeiffer: 8-8, 4-4
T7. Erskine: 6-8, 3-5
T7. Limestone: 5-11, 3-5
9. North Greenville: 4-10, 2-6
10. Belmont Abbey: 5-11, 2-7
11. Southern Wesleyan: 2-16, 1-9
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87