MORGANTON – It was a rough Thursday all around for the McDowell Titans in the second day of the Freedom Christmas Invitational as they took a 75-45 loss to Asheville Christian in the consolation round of the three-day tournament.
The Lions held the lead for all but about two minutes of play in the contest and jumped out to a quick lead as they were never threatened in the game.
With the help of 10 made 3-pointers overall, several transition baskets off McDowell turnovers and a bevy of easy looks inside in the half-court setting, Asheville Christian took an 18-10 lead after one quarter and tripled its margin up to 24 points at the half. A 30-14 ACA margin in the second quarter alone all but sealed it going into the locker room.
Junior guard Tyler McKinney poured in 26 points, accounting for half of the team’s 3-pointers in the game. He led a group of four Lions who placed in double figures. Raishaun Brown netted 20 points and Cameron Skinner along with Jalen Walker-Crawford had 10 points each.
McDowell guard J.C. Olivo nailed a 3 from the corner on the Titans’ first trip downcourt to take a brief 3-2 lead, the only one on the day about a minute into play.
The Lions then put together a 14-2 run to go up by as much as 10 late in the first.
Most of the second quarter stayed in that general range until the final three minutes when ACA used a 15-4 run to end the half, including 11 straight points to create their huge lead.
The news wasn’t much better after the break as the Lions expanded their lead to a 70-38 margin after three quarters. The last eight minutes was played with reserves on both sides and the Titans, who didn’t have much to hang their hat on in this game, did break above even in the fourth, winning it by a 7-5 margin.
Along with the scoreboard, Asheville Christian held a 35-28 advantage on the board and the Titans struggled to hold onto the basketball, committing 18 turnovers, 11 of them in the first half. A good number of those directly led to points in transition.
Dylan McRary (4 rebounds) scored 12 points along with 11 points and three rebounds from Olivo. No other McDowell player reached double figures. Qualique Garner had nine points and five rebounds. And from there the productions offensively tailed off drastically. Trent Lewis, Dequan Boyce, Trenton Gragg, Jonathan Ramirez and Tyler Rector had two points apiece and Seth Harrison scored one point.