AIKEN, S.C. – Senior forward Charles Blue scored a game-high 17 points and hauled in seven boards but it would not be enough as Limestone (21-9, 15-5 CC) fell just short of No. 4 seed and No. 25 Wingate (22-8, 14-4 SAC), dropping a 65-60 decision in an NCAA Division II Southeast Regional men's basketball game on Saturday, March 16.
Blue led the Saints with his near double-double while senior guard Mike Barrett and junior guard PJ Foster each had 14 points. Senior center Phillip Moultrie added 10 points and six boards while playing with flu-like symptoms and senior forward Joe Raga had nine boards in his final collegiate game.
Trailing 58-53 with 6:19 to play, the Saints would step up defensively and hold Wingate scoreless over the next 4:18 and put together a 7-0 run behind four points from Blue and the go-ahead three-pointer from PJ Foster with 2:22 showing on the clock.
That run left them with a 60-58 lead before the Bulldogs quickly responded with the tying basket just 21 seconds later on the other end. On their next two trips down the floor, Limestone could not hit and was forced to foul defensively. From there, Wingate converted on three of their next four free throws to make it a three-point lead with 19 seconds to play.
The Saints raced back down court on their next possession with Foster getting a good look at a three that just went awry. After one more foul, the Bulldogs' Odell Turner knocked down two more free throws to salt away the five point victory.
Limestone got off to a blazing start as they raced out to leads of 7-2 and 10-4 in the first 4:30 behind three buckets from Blue and a triple from PJ Foster. They would stretch that lead to 15-7 at the 14:00 mark before the Bulldogs knocked down a three to get to within 15-10.
Back-to-back triples by Foster and Blue then squelched that mini run and made it 21-10 with 11:41 on the clock. With the score at 24-14 just two minutes later, Wingate used a 5-1 stretch to cut the deficit to 25-19 at 5:49.
Another three, this one from Barrett, made it seven of nine threes that the Saints had connected on and pushed their lead to 28-19. The Bulldogs, however, would not go away as they put together an impressive 13-5 run to close to within 33-32 at the half.
The Saints would briefly lose the lead over the opening minutes of the second half but would outscore Wingate 12-8 to maintain a 45-40 advantage. However, six straight points gave the Bulldogs a narrow 46-45 advantage at 13:06.
An 8-4 stretch by Limestone over the next 4:12 then gave them a 53-50 lead with just 8:54 showing on the clock but that would disappear behind four straight Bulldogs baskets as they took a 58-53 lead with just over six minutes left in the game and set the stage for a frantic finish.
Turner finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Bulldogs while Ryan Daye also finished with 14 points. Deion Turman had 10 points, six boards and a game-high four blocks and Eddie Lewis chipped in with 11 points.
Limestone caps their season with a 21-9 overall record, a share of the 2012-13 Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship and the program's second trip to the NCAA Tournament in three years.