BATESVILLE, Ark. – Xavielle Brown scored 13 of his team-best 20 points in the second half and BJ Watson added 16 of his 19 in the final 20 minutes, helping Park University (12-5, 9-4) pull away before holding on to beat Lyon College at Becknell Gymnasium in Batesville, Arkansas.
In addition to Brown and Watson, Noel Surles added double figures off the bench, wih 13 points, while Tyler Robinson had a game-high 27 for the scots, who fell to 10-10, 5-7 in the AMC.
A stark contrast to the Pirates' 30-point December win in Parkville, the Pirates were in a fight in the first half, when there were only three leads that made it a two-possession game, one by Lyon with 13:47 to go, up 13-9, and two for the Pirates, who led by four with 5:04 in the half on a basket by Brown, and with 31 seconds when Brown knocked down two free throws to make it 26-22.
The Pirates couldn't hold the lead in to the break, though, as Robinson scored twice in the final 30 seconds, going to intermission with 18 of Lyon's 26 points in a 26-26 game at the break.
"The first half was tough," said Park coach Jason Kline. "They really neutralized a lot of what we wanted to do and kept us from getting in to any kind of rhythm or flow. Robinson was really good for them and had them in a good position, I thought."
Park held Robinson to only nine points in the second half, which opened the door for Brown and Watson to go to work. But before the Pirates were able to pull away, Lyon made a run, up 33-27 on an Eric Moses basket with 18:41 to play. Park used the next minute and a half to trim the lead to one, when Surles made it 35-34, and Watson buried a three at the 14:01 mark to put Park back in front, 44-42.
Watson's triple opened a 7-2 run for the Pirates, who led 49-44 with 11:59 left on a basket by Surles.
Spencer Brown had Lyon back within a basket as the clock approached nine minutes, but Brown hit two free throws to put the lead back to two possessions, two points that also started a 12-0 run that had Park in front 64-52 with 6:44 left, when Watson tripled, and Dalton Rose gave the Pirates their biggest lead of the game with 5:22 to go, burying another three to make it 67-53.
Lyon did chip away, scoring the next 10 points to get within four, but the Scots couldn't get any closer. Surles was able to complete a three-point play with 1:23 remaining, and Watson made two free throws with 17 seconds left to put the game away.
"I thought we were much better in the second half and executed much better," Kline said. "We had to execute because we really were not very good on the glass. Forcing 20 turnovers helped, but we really did shoot the ball a lot better in the second half. It's something to build on going in to next week."
The Pirates return home for three games, next week, beginning Tuesday night at 6 p.m., a makeup game with St. Louis College of Pharmacy on the Pirate Sports Network at www.parkathletics.tv. The Network will also carry Thursday's game against Williams Baptist College, along with a Saturday tilt with Freed-Hardeman University, in a game that could be a battle of ranked teams when the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 comes out Tuesday.
FHU is in second place in the AMC, a game ahead of Park, while Williams is in 11th place, two games ahead of last place STLCOP in the American Midwest Conference standings.