The Belmont Abbey men's basketball team opened the game on a 29-12 run as it never trailed after being down 3-2 as the Crusaders held off a late Erskine run to earn a 59-57 victory over the Flying Fleet this evening.
First year head coach Martin Unger earns his first win as a head coach as the Crusaders improve to 1-11 overall and 1-4 in Conference Carolinas, while Erskine falls to 4-6 overall and 2-3 in Conference Carolinas.
Playing for the first time since December 20, the Crusaders offense did not suffer a layoff as the Abbey surged ahead by 17 points in the first 10:26 as freshman Nick Hough scored 12 of the points in that span.
Erskine clawed back to trim the Abbey's edge down to 29-23, but the Crusaders closed the half by scoring six of the final eight points to carry a 35-25 lead into the break.
Hough scored 12 points in the first half with Ray Chen adding nine as the Crusaders shot 63 percent (14-22) from the field and 54 percent (6-11) from three point range.
The second half saw Erskine outscore the Abbey 32-24 as the Flying Fleet deadlocked the game at 37 with 12:37 to play, but the Crusaders immediately regained the lead and held on the rest of the way as they converted several field goals late.
After another Erskine basket, Pollard again answered, draining his second three pointer in the three Crusaders possessions. The last one stretched the Crusaders lead to 57-51 with 40 seconds left.
Erskine mustered one final chage, as the Fleet scored the next four points to trim the Crusaders lead down to 57-55 with 27 seconds left.
21 seconds later, however, Lane sealed the win with a pair of free throws, moving the lead to 59-55. Erskine sank a jumper at the buzzer to close the scoring.
Pollard led three Crusaders in double figures with 17 points, 11 in the second half. Hough added 15 and Lane poured in 10.
The Crusaders shot 51 percent from the floor and 60 percent from three point range.
Belmont Abbey must turn around quickly, as the Crusaders are back in action tomorrow night at 7:30 against first year Conference Carolinas member Emmanuel.