2017-03-15 / Sports

A Painful Ending

Dance’s shoulder injury hurts Saints’ upset bid
By LARRY HILLIARD
Ledger Sports Editor

The Limestone men’s basketball team was playing brilliantly, and on its way to an upset over Lincoln Memorial.

The Saints lost Shaq Dance with five minutes to go.

Then, they lost the game, 70-64, in their first ever second round NCAA tournament game Sunday afternoon.

Dance led the Saints with 26 points, eight boards, three assists and one block before going out with a shoulder injury.

“We really played well,”

Limestone coach Brandon Scott said. “We were up six when (Shaq) went out with five or six minutes to go. What I have peace about is that if he was going to get hurt, it would have been much more painful to leave the lead with him. We played well and really dominated the first 15 minutes of the half.”

The Saints held a 57-49 advantage at the 7:04 minute mark.

With Dance out of the game, Lincoln Memorial tied the game at 62 with 2:09 left in regulation, and outscored Limestone 8-2 the rest of the way, bringing to an end a historic season for the Saints, who were regular season co-champs, tournament champs and posted 27 wins.

“The year exceeded my expectations,” Scott said. “It was a great season.”

A big reason was the immediate success of Youngstown St. transfer Shaun Stewart, who led the team in scoring with 22 points a game, while shooting 49 percent from the field, 41 percent from 3-point land and 79 percent from the foul line.

“We knew that Shaun was capable, but he had only one year,” Scott said.

In that one year, though, he put together “one of three greatest seasons in our history,” Scott said.

The Saints also lose Dance, guard Teron Wallace and forward Justin Hollimon.

“We lost a lot of scoring,” Scott said. “We will be a different team next year.”

And maybe just as good. Scott said the team red-shirted four players who should contribute next season.

The Saints also return Kenny Hairston, a guard out of Charlotte, big man Papy Kane and forward Donovan Harris.

“We will be a more balanced scoring team,” Scott said.

“It will be a different kind of team.”

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