BANNER ELK, N.C. - Backed by a career-high 23 points and 18 rebounds from sophomore David McNair, and a clutch late three pointer by freshman Andrew Guerrero, the Pfeiffer men's basketball team (4-10, 1-4 CC) won a dramatic 106-99 overtime game at Lees-McRae (6-8, 1-3) on Saturday evening. Freshman Mike Smith scored 28 points and has led Pfeiffer in scoring in each of the team's 14 games this season. Sophomore AJ Clark scored 24 points and added seven rebounds. Center Silvere Aluko had nine points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots and Guerrero had 15 points off the bench.
The biggest shot of the game came from Guerrero. With Pfeiffer trailing 81-78 after a pair of made free throws by the Bobcats, Pfeiffer Head Coach Jeremy Currier called a timeout with 21 seconds remaining. The Bobcats played good defense on the ensuing possession but Guerrero caught the ball on the right wing and hit a step back three with five seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. Guerrero scored eight points in the final 1:29 of the second half, almost single-handedly erasing a five point deficit.
McNair scored on Pfeiffer's first overtime possession and the Falcons never trailed the rest of the way. McNair went 7-for-7 from the free throw line in the game and had eight points in overtime. In fact, the trio of McNair, Clark and Smith scored 23 of the team's 25 points in the extra period, going 5-of-7 from the field and 13-of-15 from the free throw line.
AJ Clark hit 14-of-15 from the free throw line on the night and played 44 out of 45 minutes, while Smith added five steals.
The Falcons, who didn't trail until the 2:19 mark of the first half, started the game on an 8-0 run. Smith's basket in the paint with 11:42 to play gave Pfeiffer their largest lead of the game at 19-7. Lees-McRae would respond with a 16-4 run that cut the lead to 23-21. The Falcons answered with a 7-0 run of their own, culminating with a three point play from Mark Goods. The Bobcats would eventually gain the upper hand and go into the break with a slight 36-34 advantage.
Following halftime, Pfeiffer shot 21-for-38 (55.3 percent) in the second half and overtime. Guerrero erupted with 13 of his 15 points in the second half and overtime period, going 5-of-7 from the field and hitting three shots from behind the arc. Pfeiffer's only lead of the second half came after a Smith three pointer gave the Falcons a 56-55 advantage with 10:50 to play. Lees-McRae put together a 13-2 run to grab a 68-58 lead with 6:18 to go. The Falcons refused to give up and cut the deficit to 72-71 with 3:23 remaining. The Bobcats twice had a five point lead in the final 1:36, but couldn't hang on, setting the stage for Guerrero's heroics.
Pfeiffer led the majority of the overtime period with the game being tied one time, at 83 apiece. The lead ballooned to as much as nine as the Falcons hit 88 percent from the charity stripe to earn the win.
"Our guys played great tonight," said Currier. "We earned a hard fought road win against a talented Lees-McRae team. David McNair was phenomenal and Silvere Aluko made winning plays on defense. Our co-captain AJ Clark was tremendous from the free throw line but we don't get to overtime without Andrew Guerrero. I am incredibly proud of our players' perseverance and commitment to improving each day."
The 106 points scored tonight was a season-high for the team. The previous high was 96 points against Barber Scotia on Dec. 10.
Pfeiffer owned a 52-40 advantage on the glass and pulled down 18 offensive rebounds, their most since Nov. 30. The 33 made free throws and 41 attempts were also season highs.
Lees-McRae was led by 18 points and 12 rebounds from Jacquise Moore. The Bobcats had six players score in double figures and shot 46.1 percent from the field. They struggled from the free throw line however, going 20-for-34 (58.8 percent).
Pfeiffer returns to action on Wednesday evening when they host North Greenville at 7:30 p.m.