The Spring Hill College Badgers earned a hard-fought win over Dillard University on Tuesday night in the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center by a score of 70-65 in the 2010 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Men's Basketball Tournament's opening round.
Dillard held a 34-30 advantage at the halftime break after the Badgers jumped out to a 9-point lead at 22-13 just 10 minutes into the game.
Spring Hill answered the challenge early in the second period and launched 13-7 run that was capped by a 2-point basket in the paint by senior forward Owen McNally and two free throws by Chris Dees, Jr. to take a 44-41 lead with 14:40 on the clock.
As the Badger offense heated up, the Badger defense started to clamp down on the other end with junior center Nick Brown and McNally taking control under the baskets swatting two blocks each in the second half.
SHC stretched out an 8-point bulge at 54-46 at the 9-minute mark, but Dillard refused to leave the 2010 season quietly. The Bleu Devils clawed back to within a basket at 54-53 with 5:34 remaining on the clock, but then the tank ran out of gas for the visitors from New Orleans when SHC made six of its final seven free throws over last two minutes to hold on for a 70-65 win.
Junior center Nick Brown tallied game-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Badgers while senior forward Owen McNally added another 14 points and Jacolby Griffin finished the night with 12 points.
Dillard was led by James Burkes with 14 points and Mico Sjekloca put 13 points in the baskets. Lance Bell and Cornice Wingate each added 12 points to the Bleu Devils' totals.
SHC shot 49.1% (27-55) from the field and was 27.3% (6-22) from 3-point land while Dillard was 33.3% (21-63) from the field and shot 26.1% (6-23) from 3-point territory.
Dillard (4-23) was out-rebounded by SHC 40-36 while the Badgers turned the ball over 14 times and the Devils fumbled the ball just seven times.
No. 7 seeded Spring Hill (15-13) will next play at 2nd seeded and 25th ranked Tougaloo College (22-6) on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the tournament's quarterfinal round.