BATESVILLE, Ark. – It was a shame that Slater Belew's biggest night had to come when his team suffered its most disappointing loss of the season. But the 6-8 senior from Chattanooga, Tenn. not only posted his best single-game block total (6), but in doing so set the Lyon College all-time shot block total as he surpassed Levi Taylor (2004-08) and move into first place with 99 for his career in the Scots' 73-70 loss to Hannibal-LaGrange in James C. Becknell Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
Belew entered the game three behind Taylor's 96. His total on this night was two short of the individual game record set by Taylor against Bethel College in 2008, but he reached a personal-high season total of 31, which was the second-most in any single season for Lyon and put him three ahead of Taylor in the Lyon record books.
Unfortunately for the Scots, the setback was against the American Midwest Conference's worst team, as Hannibal-LaGrange picked up only its second league win (2-13), while improving to 5-22 on the year. The Scots, which have already clinched the sixth seed in next week's AMC Men's Postseason Tournament, dropped their second straight and sixth in their last seven games to fall to 8-19 on the year, 5-11 in league play.
Lyon College, which will wrap up its regular season on Saturday with a non-conference game in Springdale, Ark. against Ecclesia College at 5 p.m., will receive a bye in the opening round of the conference tournament and play at the No. 3-seed next Thursday at 7 p.m.
In addition to his block totals, Belew pulled down a game-high seven rebounds, to go along with four points and two steals. Ben Worlow came off the bench to lead the Scots' offense with 12 points, while pulling down six rebounds. The Mountain Home, Ark. sophomore hit 6-of-8 from the field.
Rickey Thomas dropped in 11 points for the Scots, while Devonte Young added 10 points, five boards and three assists. Marcus Humose, Marcus Williams, Stephon Martinez and Daniel Ritchie each scored six points.
Herod Montgomery did the most damage for the Trojans, scoring 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Jurgen Lico knocked down 6-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-8 from behind the three-point arc, scoring 21 points.
Like they have done a numerous occasions during conference play, the Scots built an advantage at halftime, leading 34-28. Lyon did it by hitting 14-of-30 (46.7%) from the field, while HLG was limited to 36.7% (11-of-30).
But the Trojans warmed up in the second half, connecting on 13-of-23 (56.5%), compared to only 38.7% (12-of-31) for Lyon. That percentage, in addition to hitting 14-of-16 (87.5%) from the free throw line during the game, helped Hannibal-LaGrange complete its comeback and outscore Lyon 45-36 in the final 20 minutes.
The Scots came out of the blocks in a hurry, taking a 15-6 lead with 15:11 left in the first half. But an 8-0 run over the next 3:19 resulted in the Trojans grabbing a 15-14 advantage with 11:52 on the clock.
After opening up a seven-point lead (21-14), the Trojans enabled the Scots to go on a 20-13 spurt over the final half of the period as the Scots enjoyed the lead at the turn.
Lyon College took its largest lead, 37-28, just 54 seconds into the second half, but the Trojans cut the deficit to one on two occasions, and finally went ahead in the second half, 56-54, with 6:57 remaining.
The Scots then trailed by seven, 68-61, with 1:05 left, but were able to trim the deficit to 71-70 with 16 ticks left on the clock when Ritchie hit a pair of free throws. But that's as close as Lyon would come as the Scots had to foul.