GREENWOOD – Ty'hesha Reynolds scored 25 points and Mylea McKenith added 20 as the Lander Bearcats closed the 2016 calendar year by outscoring Johnson C. Smith University 22-7 over the last six minutes, winning the non-conference game 80-67 on New Year's Eve afternoon at Horne Arena.
Lander avenged an earlier loss to the Golden Bulls, improving to 7-3 overall. JCSU fell to 8-4.
The Bearcats dropped an 81-72 decision to the Golden Bulls on Nov. 19 in the Courtyard Classic in Spartanburg, S.C., and also lost to Johnson C. Smith 64-60 last year.
Breshay Johnson added 13 points for Lander while Destinee Langford led the Bearcats with eight rebounds. McKenith paced Lander with six assists and four steals, while Jessica Harris added nine points, five assists and three steals.
Prior to tipoff, Johnson was honored for netting her 1,000th career point on Dec. 14 in a win over Limestone.
Malia Rivers paced JCSU with 16 points, Anika Jones scored 14 and Kendall Adams 11. Maryanna Moore led the Golden Bulls with seven rebounds.
After the game, the Lander men's and women's basketaball teams received their 2016 Peach Belt Conference championship rings.
Lander hosts Clayton State Wednesday, Jan. 4, in a PBC double-header at Horne Arena.
The Bearcats closed the first quarter with a 10-1 run, taking a 21-12 lead into the second period. Langford scored four points while Cameron Davis, Reynolds and McKenith added baskets.
But the Bulls closed the first half with a 20-2 run, outscoring Lander 20-6 in the second quarter and building a 32-27 halftime lead. The Bearcats shot only 15 percent from the floor in the period including 0-for-10 from 3-point range. Rivers scored 11 of JCSU's 20 points in the quarter, including her third and fourth 3s of the day.
Reynolds made a pair of 3s early in the third period, pulling Lander into a 36-all tie at the 7:33 mark. But Blaire Thomas's 3 gave the Golden Bulls a 49-41 advantage.
The Bearcats pulled within 55-51 going into the final period, with Harris's steal leading to a Johnson layup with 30 seconds left.
Lander took its first lead of the second half on Harris's 3, making it 58-57 with 7:54 to go. But Adams converted a three-point play to push JCSU back on top 60-58 at the 6:17 mark.
The Bearcats then made a dramatic turnaround, storming ahead with a 12-2 run including a pair of 3s and a layup by Reynolds for a 70-62 advantage inside the 3:40 mark.
McKenith's layup off a long pass from Reynolds upped Lander's lead to 72-63 with 2:01 left.
Harris's steal near mid-court and driving layup increased the advantage to 76-64 with 47 seconds to go. McKenith's layup off a Reynolds steal made it 80-67 with 25 seconds left.