In a matchup of NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, the Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Basketball Team opened the season with a 21-point victory over Emmanuel, 91-70. Five players scored in double figures for the Bears, led by 20 points from junior R.J. Gunn.
Gunn scored 11 points in the first half as LR shot 55.6 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. The Bears led 39-33 going into the break as Emmanuel had a 20-12 advantage on the boards.
Lenoir-Rhyne outscored the Lions 52-37 in the second half and went 9-for-15 from three point range in the final frame as the Bears never trailed in the game.
Gunn finished with a game-high 20 points and added six rebounds. Davion Bradford added 15 points and Darius Simmons chipped in 14. Mason Hawks tallied 13 points, six assists and four rebounds.
The LR defense held Emmanuel to 40.4 percent shooting from the floor and 21.1 percent from long range.
For the game, the Bears finished with 13 3-pointers on 26 attempts. In 2018-19, LR had five games with 13 or more made 3-pointers.
The 14 steals match the most in a game since November 9, 2018 against Young Harris. There has only been three games of 14 steals in the past five years.
The Bears defeated Emmanuel 91-87 inside Shuford Gym last season. This is only the second all-time matchup between the two programs. In addition, LR went 3-0 against Conference Carolinas foes last season
Last year Emmanuel entered the NCAA Division II Tournament as the No. 8 seed but only lost to No. 1 seed Queens 76-72. The Royals would advance to the Elite 8.
LR plays again on Saturday against Young Harris at 4pm.