MISENHEIMER, NC - Belmont Abbey (9-13, 5-7 CC) scored 54 second half points to come away with a 97-88 victory over Pfeiffer (5-17, 2-10) on Saturday evening at Merner Gymnasium. The Crusaders went exactly 17-for-36 from the field in both the first and second halves and had three players score 20 or more points. Pfeiffer shot 50 percent for the game and was led by 21 points from AJ Clark.
The trio of Darryl Durham, Justin Kuhlman and Ryan Conrad combined for 71 points on the night, led by a game-high 28 from Kuhlman. Durham added 18 rebounds for the double-double and Kuhlman dished out 11 assists, while converting all 11 of his free throw attempts.
The Crusaders knocked down 10-of-21 three point attempts and had 24 assists.
Pfeiffer struggled from the free throw line, going just 8-for-20 while the Crusaders took advantage of their free throws, hitting 19-of-24.
Mark Goods got the Falcons started on the right foot as he scored six of the Falcons' first eight points. The rest of the half was tightly contest with the lead never getting higher than a seven point differential. Charlie Wagoner's basket in the paint gave Pfeiffer a 47-41 lead, but Conrad answered and cut the deficit to 47-43 going into the break. Clark and Mike Smith each scored nine points in the first half for Pfeiffer who shot 58.3 percent from the field.
Clark's jumper on Pfeiffer's first possession of the second half gave Pfeiffer a six point advantage. At the 15:19 mark, Silvere Aluko took a pass from Xavier Evans and gave Pfeiffer an eight point lead, their biggest of the night. The Crusaders eventually evened the score with 7:39 to play on a three pointer from Kuhlman. After a missed field goal from Clark, Conrad hit a three that gave Belmont Abbey the lead for good. The guests pushed the lead to as many as seven points, but Pfeiffer cut it to a one possession game after Smith hit 1-of-2 free throws at the 1:03 mark. However, the Crusaders hit all six of their free throw attempts down the stretch to secure the victory.
Andrew Guerrero had 13 second half points for Pfeiffer and missed only two shots.
Durham had a monster second half for the Crusaders, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 13 minutes of action.
The rebounding margin was nearly equal as Pfeiffer grabbed one more rebound than Belmont Abbey.
Guerrero finished with 18 points and Smith had 14 before fouling out in the final minutes of the game.
Pfeiffer looks to bounce back this Wednesday as they travel to Erskine for a 7:30 p.m. match up.