HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Mya Belton reached 1,000 career points and hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:05 remaining as the Tusculum University Pioneers held off Coker University 63-61 in South Atlantic Conference women’s basketball on Saturday afternoon at the DeLoach Center.
Belton finished with 14 points and went 4-for-4 from 3-point range, one of which in the second quarter made her the 21st player in Tusculum women’s basketball history to hit the 1,000-point milestone. Blayre Shultz added 14 points and Jami Tham posted her 19th consecutive double-double as the Pioneers (15-3, 7-2 SAC) won their 14th consecutive meeting with the Cobras (5-12, 0-9 SAC) and seventh straight on the road.
Tusculum shot 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) from 3-point range as a team, the third-best single-game percentage in program history and best since going 13-for-18 (72.2 percent) against Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 9, 2008. Belton, who entered the game eight points shy of 1,000 for her career, became the first Pioneer to make four 3-pointers in a game without a miss since Aliyah Miller went 7-for-7 at Mars Hill on Feb. 10, 2021 and is the seventh in program history to accomplish the feat. Shultz was 2-for-3 from 3-point range and Sophie Henry was 2-for-4 for Tusculum, who received threes from six different players.
Tham posted her Division II-leading 19th double-double in as many games with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Deidre Cheremond added 11 points in 22 minutes off the Tusculum bench. Henry returned to action after missing last Saturday’s game against Wingate and finished with eight points and four assists in 29 minutes off the bench for Tusculum.
Mya Wasswa led the Cobras with 11 points and Hope Richardson had nine points and 12 rebounds in just 16 minutes.
Coker outrebounded Tusculum 37-29, including 13 offensive rebounds that were turned into 13 second-chance points. Coker shot 17-for-19 (89.5 percent) from the foul line but went just 4-for-19 from 3-point range.
Neither team led by more than nine points, with nine ties and 13 lead changes.
Tusculum has had each of its last three games decided by two points, the first time since December, 2015, that the Pioneers had three consecutive games decided by one possession.
The Pioneers, who beat Wingate 54-52 on Jan. 14, had not won consecutive games by two points or less since Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2003, when Tusculum beat Mars Hill 50-49 and Wingate 86-84.
The Pioneers finished the game at 38 percent (19-for-50) from the field but held the Cobras to 36.4 percent (20-for-55) from the floor. Coker was 2-for-12 from 3-point range in the second half including 0-for-4 in the final quarter.
Coker’s Abigail Keesling sank two free throws with 2:23 remaining to tie the game 57-57, but Belton canned her fourth 3 of the game with 2:05 to go to put Tusculum back on top 60-57.
After a steal by Shultz, Cheremond drilled two free throws with 1:27 remaining for a 62-57 Pioneer lead. Coker, which had gone over 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal, pulled within 62-60 as a putback by Richardson resulted in a three-point play with 1:08 left.
Tham made one free throw with 59.2 seconds left to put the Pioneers back in front 63-60, and Wasswa answered with a free throw with 45.7 seconds to go to leave Tusculum ahead 63-61.
A missed shot by Tusculum gave Coker a final chance with 13.9 seconds to go, but Valicia Demeritte missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left and the Pioneers ran out the clock.
Tusculum will host Lincoln Memorial at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Railsplitters beat Newberry 63-41 on Saturday to improve to 12-6 overall and tied for third place in the SAC Mountain Division at 5-4, two games behind the second-place Pioneers. Tusculum beat LMU 67-38 in the first meeting of the season on the road on Dec. 3.
MEN’S BASKETBALL COKER 69 TUSCULUM 59
HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Jordan Jones recorded 20 points and nine assists to lead Coker to a SAC win.
The Cobras (11-8, 5-4 SAC) knocked down 11 3-pointers and scored 25 points off Tusculum’s 18 turnovers to snap a five-game losing streak at the hands of the Pioneers (9-7, 5-4 SAC).
Coker went 11-of-30 from beyond the arc (46%) while limiting Tusculum to 3-of-15 shooting from downtown (20%).
Tusculum junior Inady Legiste led all scorers with 23 points as he went 13-of-14 from the free throw line while also grabbing a game-high nine rebounds.
Tusculum’s James West finished with 15 points, including three 3-pointers, while Connor Jordan had 11 points off the bench.
Tusculum hosts third-ranked Lincoln Memorial University at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Wednesday’s game is TU’s annual “Pack the Arena” Night.
TRACK & FIELD Relay Qualifies For Nationals
NASHVILLE — The Tusculum University men’s track and field team set three school records and posted a national qualifying mark as the Pioneers competed with the women at the Vanderbilt Invitational on Saturday.
The men’s 4x400-meter relay broke the school record and finished fifth in a field that included 16 Division I teams, while Zackary Nelson improved his NCAA qualifying time and broke his own school record in the 400 meters. In the shot put, freshman Adrian Gumm shattered the previous program record and earned a top-10 finish for the Pioneers.
Tusculum will be back on the track Friday-Saturday, Jan. 27-28 at the VMI Winter Classic in Lexington, Virginia.
The 4x400 relay of Jarvis Barber Jr., Nelson, Marquel Pittman and Stephen Brewer finished second in its heat and held on to fifth place in the final standings with a time of 3:16.86, breaking the old school record of 3:18.33 set at the VMI Winter Relays on Feb. 12, 2022. Nelson and Brewer were both members of that previous record-holding quartet. Their mark of 3:16.86 beat the NCAA Division II provisional qualifying standard of 3:17.34.
Nelson ran in the second-fastest of the nine sections in the 400 meters and finished in 47.72 seconds, which broke his program record of 48.15 seconds set at the USC Indoor Open on Feb. 18, 2022. Nelson entered the weekend ranked ninth in Division II in the 400 meters with a converted time of 48.34 seconds set at the Mondo College Invitational one week earlier. Brewer was 19th in 50.05 seconds for the 10th-fastest time in program history.
Gumm competed in the open division of the shot put and nearly qualified for the finals as his final throw of 14.54 meters (47 feet, 8 1/2 inches) was nearly 2 1/2 feet beyond the previous program record of 13.80 meters (45 feet, 3 1/2 inches) set by Christian Sisto at the Liberty Kickoff on Jan. 25, 2019. Mikeal Pillar finished 20th with a mark of 12.67 meters (41 feet, 7 inches), putting him fifth on the program performance list in the event.
Antonio Aparicio ran 1:56.48 in the 800 meters for the fourth-fastest time in school history, while DeWayne Morris was clocked at 2:00.44 to take third place on the program performance list in the event. In the 60 meters, Barber took 15th place with a time of 7.00 seconds and Pittman was 18th overall in 7.04 seconds.
Jamal Cash ran 8.65 seconds and took 19th place in the 60-meter hurdles, with Daryl Smith Jr. in 22nd place at 8.74 seconds. Smith finished 15th in the triple jump with a best mark of 13.97 meters (45 feet, 10 inches), which is fourth-best in program history.
Emily Coddington ran 2:24.03 in the 800 meters for the third-fastest time in program history and the second-best of her career, behind a 2:22.21 she ran at the VMI Winter Classic on Feb. 13, 2021.
In other events, Kiera Taylor ran 8.13 seconds in the 60 meters, Judy Chellah was timed at 1:08.38 in the 400 meters and Inmaculado Delgado had a time of 6:02.08 in the mile run. In the shot put, Amber Hogan was 39th overall at 10.07 meters (33 feet, 1/2 inch).
MEN’S VOLLEYBALL BALL STATE 3 TUSCULUM 2
MUNCIE, Ind. — Ball State, ranked No. 6 nationally, defeated Tusculum 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 24-26, 15-7 on Saturday.
Three Pioneers reached double-figures in kills: Colby Landry (20), Shaphar Grant (12), and Jake Whyte (10). Landry fired on a .333 hitting percentage, while Grant tied his career-high in scoring behind a scorching .524.
Tristan Blake handed out the second-most assists in a five set match in program history (fourth-most overall) with 47. Landry (2) tallied half of Tusculum’s aces in the match, joined by Whyte and Jaden Bramhall with one each. Both Whyte and Landry nearly recorded a double-double, notching a match-best nine digs.
Grant had five total blocks (three solo, two assists). Dane Loup had three solo rejections.
Tusculum hosts King at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pioneer Arena.
MEN’S BOWLING Tusculum 13th
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Tusculum University men’s bowling team finished 13th out of 25 teams at the Thomas Burris Memorial on Sunday at Kingpin Lanes.
The Pioneers logged a total pinfall of 7,320. Sunday’s format included five traditional scored games followed by 12 Baker games.
Tusculum bowled 5,010 after its five traditional games and followed a 12-game Baker tally of 2,310.
Pikeville took first place with 8,517 total pins.
Tusculum’s Justin Rodgers bowled a five-game total of 1,068 to finish 34th with a 213.6 average. Gabe Taulbee finished 40th with 1,042 pins for a 208.4 average. Tucker Strack was 82nd with 957 pins in five games for a 191.4 average. Randall Andrews placed 104th with 894 (178.8) while Aeron Burkhardt totaled 862 (113th) in four games for a 215.5 average. Mason Morgan bowled a 187 in one game to finish 189th.
Tusculum will bowl Feb. 4-5 in the Muskie Mash in Coshocton, Ohio.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tusculum finished 20th at the Lynne Jordan Memorial held at Kingpin Lanes on Saturday.
The Pioneers posted a five-game total pinfall of 6,516 in the 25-team tournament field.
Pikeville posted 8,003 pins to win the team title.
Justin Rodgers led the Pioneers with a five-game total of 959 for a 191.8 average. Gabe Taulbee placed 69th with a five-game total 909 pins (181.8). Randall Andrews is 96th with 790 (158.0). Mason Morgan posted 662 pins in four games (165.5) and placed 129th. Aeron Burkhardt posted 632 pins (158.0) in four games and finished 134th. Tucker Strack rounded out the TU scoring with 317 pins in two games (158.5) and placed 190th.