LAURINBURG, NC—The St. Andrews men’s basketball team overcame a poor shooting first half by connecting on 50-percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes to defeat Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference rival Coker College, 61-54, on Monday night in Harris Court.


The Knights snapped a two-game skid and improved to 10-10 overall and 8-7 in the CVAC. SAPC’s eight conference wins is the most since the program won 11 in 1999-2000. The Cobras fell to 5-16 and 4-11.


In an ugly first half, St. Andrews went 8-for-30 (26.7%) from the field and 2-for-13 (15.4%) from the three-point arc. However, Coker did not fair much better converting on 9-of-25 (36.0%) attempts. Neither team could pull out to more than a three-point lead in the first half while a sophomore Ryan Fulwood (Cummings, GA) jumper gave the Cobras a slim 23-21 advantage at halftime.


The Knights found better shots in the second half by connecting on 12-of-24 field goals and dishing out nine of their 13 assists in the second stanza.


Trailing by three, a freshman Taylor Hukill (Raleigh, NC) layup sandwiched between two made 3-pointers by Fulwood propelled Coker into a five point lead, 40-35, with 9:35 remaining. A trey, a steal and then a long pull-up jumper by junior Knight Bobby Short (Charlotte, NC) in a 27 second span tied the game at 42 apiece.


With the physical play escalating, matching technical fouls were called on St. Andrews’ Joseph Gripper (Charlotte, NC) and Coker’s Mark Duncan (Graham, TX). A minute later with everything deadlocked at 44-44; Gripper starts a 17-10 run over the final seven minutes by drilling a three-pointer. The Knights made 9-of-14 free throws in the last three minutes to preserve the seven-point victory.


Gripper, Short, and senior Chad Eichelberger (Austell, GA) each bucketed 10 points for the Knights. Eichelberger completed the double-double with a game-high 13 boards while adding four assists and four blocks.


Fulwood led the Cobras with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting including five from downtown. Senior Michael Pierce (Whiteville, NC) scored nine points to go along with his team-high 11 boards.


St. Andrews entertains CVAC foe Lees-McRae College on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. while Coker visits Limestone on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.