Maryville College Head Coach Randy Lambert had coached in 1,001 games before Saturday afternoon, but he saved his best halftime speech for his 1,002nd.
The Scots roared back from a 19-point deficit in the first half to score 62 second-half points and defeat Methodist University, 85-75, in a battle of USA South undefeated teams.
After trailing 37-23 at the break and shooting just 29.4 percent – including an 0-for-12 effort from beyond the arc – Maryville posted a 71 percent (22-of-31) outing in the second half. The Scots shot 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) from 3-point range and 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) from the charity stripe in the second half to seal the key victory.
"The difference was we shot 29 percent in the first half and 71 percent in the second half," Lambert said with a laugh. "We shot zero percent from the 3-point line in the first half and 71.4 percent in the second. We sometimes forget. [This team] is still juniors, and they still haven't had the experience in how you deal with success. They were uptight about this game…I wasn't worried, because we cut it to a respectable number at the half. I knew what we were capable of doing, and they did it. To their credit, our guys just came out and really played a rockin' second half. It was a lot of fun."
Saturday's win leaves Maryville as the only undefeated squad in USA South play, as MC extends their win streak to eight.
At the first media timeout on Saturday, Maryville faced an uphill battle just 4:15 into the contest. Methodist jumped to an 8-0 lead, while taking control of the boards, 6-1.
It would take the Scots 6:13 in order to bucket their first points with a driving lay-in from Daquan Summers. At just under the 12-minute mark, Maryville was shooting just 8.3 percent to a 61.5 percent effort from the Monarchs.
MC would go to the locker room trailing 37-23, while being outrebounded by Methodist, 22-16.
The Scots opened the second half with an 8-1 run that included back-to-back treys from Dante Hoppa to cut the lead to seven.
Methodist would extend it back to a 12-point game, 43-31, before a 28-7 Scots' run over the next 5:28 would give MC the lead for good.
With 12:12 left, Maryville's J.R. Sanders would notch a long trey off the kick out from Malcolm Walker for a 50-48 lead that the Scots would not relinquish.
Maryville (10-3, 7-0 USA South) was led by Hoppa's 22 points – 15 of those coming in the second half. He went 7-of-10 from the field, including a 2-of-4 effort from beyond the arc. He added two rebounds, two assists and a steal to his credit.
Kaleb Estes also had a huge day, adding a complete effort. He had 17 points – 15 in the second half – while the guard led MC with nine rebounds. He had five assists, going 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
Colt Nokes added 16 points, as Walker added eight points, three rebounds and an assist off the bench.
Emier Bowman had six points, nine rebound, four blocks, two steals and an assist, while Calvin Songster had six points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Sanders had six points off the bench, while Summers and Danterrius Bray added two points each.
The Scots outrebounded Methodist, 39-35, while outpacing them 23-13 in the second half. They shot 32-of-65 (49.2 percent) for the game, while bucketing five treys. Maryville outscored their North Carolina counterparts, 18-0, off the bench.
Methodist (10-3, 5-1) shot 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from the floor, while adding three 3-pointers.
Davion Ayaberreno led the Monarchs with 22 points, as Maryville held him to just six in the second half. Jackson Whitley had a double-double 16 points and 15 rebounds to go with three assists, three blocks and two steals. Bryan Rouse had 15 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists, while Rae Hall had 15 points, five assists and four boards.
The Scots will look to extend their win steak to nine games on Sunday, as they host USA South foe Greensboro College. Tipoff inside Boydson Baird Gymnasium is slated for 3 p.m.