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Former GRC basketball player Will Philpot lifts Alice Lloyd to 80-76 win with a career-high

SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PIPPA PASSES, Ky. — The Alice Lloyd College Eagles overcame a poor shooting first half and a halftime deficit by making the clutch plays when they needed them to defeat the visiting Brescia University Bearcats 80-76. The critical River States Conference matchup took place Saturday, Feb. 8 in the beautiful new Perry Campus Center.

In the opening half, the Eagles gradually pulled ahead. They would jump out to an 18-10 lead following a 25-foot missile from sophomore guard Bryce Slone. However, the visitors answered with three trifectas of their own to explode on a 17-3 run. With 6:10 remaining, the Bearcats led 27-21.

ALC responded as they would race back and eventually creep ahead 39-38, following a late bomb by senior guard Ian Lee. Brescia answered with a long-range shot of their own just before the buzzer sounded. BU would hold a 41-39 advantage at intermission.

In the second half, the hometown club would see the deficit rise to five points after Brescia drilled another long shot. The Bearcats looked determined to earn the road victory.

However, the Pippa Passes crew would roll off an impressive spurt. Sparked by six points from senior guard Blake Smith, five more from sophomore guard Bryce Slone, and the powerful board work from sophomore forward Will Philpot, the hosts would roar ahead 60-52 with 12:29 remaining in the contest.

But the Bearcats hit back with Kayode Daboiku and guard Damontae Barnhill leading an 11-2 run. The guests would retake the lead with 8:44 flashing on the scoreboard.

In desperate need of a spark, ALC sophomore Chandler Stewart came up huge. On the team’s next possession, he drained a long bomb. He then followed that up with a driving bucket to put the Eagles ahead 67-63.

Later, with 2:51 remaining and the Eagles clinging to a 71-69 advantage, Stewart calmly drained another triple. Finally, after the Caney Creek club got a clutch defensive stop, Philpot found the hot-hand open again on the weak side pass, and the guard coolly drained another shot.

After the dust had settled, the score now read 77-69 with just under two minutes remaining. Stewart had provided 11 of the clubs 15 points in the clinching run to seal the deal and helped chalk up the game in the win column.

ALC (13-12, 7-6 RSC) was led in scoring by Smith with 26 points, including two late free throws to put the game out of reach. He added five rebounds

Philpot played like a man possessed all game long as he seemed to get every big rebound and score when the Eagles needed it most. The strong-man finished the night with 12 points (6-10 FG) but did more damage with his all-around game. On the night, he ripped down 20 mammoth rebounds, which set a new personal record. He also added three assists and two steals for a full night’s work.

In addition, Stewart sank 3-of-4 from long range and finished with 12 points of his own while senior guard Ian Lee chipped in nine points. Junior guard Noah Young added three assists, including one impressive pass to Stewart in the deciding run where he dove mid-air to tip the ball to his teammate.

The victorious club connected on 43.3 percent (29-67) from the field, including 38.9 percent (7-18) from long range. They hit 78.9 percent (15-19) from the foul line and added 51 rebounds, 12 assists and seven steals.

BU (9-16, 4-9 RSC) was led by Daboiku and Barnhill with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Their club connected on 38.8 percent (26-67) from the field, including 36.7 percent (11-30) from long range. They hit 72.2 percent (13-18) from the foul line and added 35 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals.

With the victory, Alice Lloyd assures themselves of a spot in the upcoming River States Conference Tournament. However, the pairings will not be set until the regular season has ended.

ALC returns to action Saturday, Feb. 15, when they face the division’s top squad, the 14th-ranked Indiana University Kokomo Cougars in an important conference matchup at 3 p.m.

The game will also mark Senior Day for the squad.