OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Junior Johnny Rhodes and freshman Cameron Hayes each totaled 16 points, but Messiah College outlasted Stevenson University 72-68 in MAC Commonwealth men's basketball Wednesday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium.
For Rhodes, the 16 points marked a season high as he went 5-6 from the floor, including connecting on all three of his three-point attempts. Hayes went 6-12 from the floor as he reached double figures in scoring for the third straight game. Sophomore Korey Hayman Jr. notched eight points, while junior Cliff Cornish recorded seven points and 14 rebounds. Senior Michael Byrd added seven points.
Messiah (11-8, 6-5 MAC Commonwealth) was paced by Logan Long's 24 points, while Josh Clippinger added 21.
The Falcons started the second half on a 13-5 run to extend a three-point lead to 11, 46-35, just under the 16-minute mark of the second half. Stevenson (4-17, 2-10 MAC Commonwealth) held Messiah to just one field goal over the next eight-plus minutes to pull within four, 48-44, with 7:47 left on a basket by Byrd.
That would be as close as the guests would get, as Messiah was able to thwart several attempts by the Mustangs to get closer. The Falcons sealed the victory by going 9-10 at the free throw line over the final 1:16.
Stevenson held a 23-18 lead with 7:45 to go in the first half following a basket by freshman Ben Wiebusch, before Messiah reeled off 13 straight points, and a Long layup 3:21 before intermission gave the Falcons an eight-point cushion, 31-23. Stevenson closed the half on a 7-2 spurt to pull within three at the break, 33-30.
Messiah shot 45.6% for the game while limiting Stevenson to just 37.1% shooting for the contest. The Mustangs matched a season-high with nine three-pointers, shooting a season-best 47.1% behind the arc (9-19), while the guests were 7-18 from long range. Messiah took seven more trips to the free throw line and went 13-17, while the Mustangs converted seven of 10 opportunities at the charity stripe.
Stevenson held a commanding 49-28 rebounding advantage, including 19-3 on the offensive glass, leading to a 20-4 lead in second chance points. The hosts committed eight more turnovers (17-9), giving the Falcons a 20-4 lead in points off turnovers.
Stevenson returns to action Saturday afternoon when it hosts Widener in a 2:00 contest at Owings Mills Gymnasium.
Head Coach Gary Stewart talks about the team's game with MAC Commonwealth foe Messiah.