GREENWOOD – JR Washington scored 24 points, but the Lander Bearcats fell behind early and lost to Livingstone College 80-69 Saturday afternoon in the final game of the Finis Horne Holiday Classic at Horne Arena.
Lander fell to 2-3 on the season while the Blue Bears improved to 2-2.
Washington fell just shy of a double-double, leading the Bearcats with nine rebounds. Rahu Purdie added 14 points, eight assists and three steals for Lander while Jarryd Coleman contributed 11 points.
Jimmy Wilson paced Livingstone with 17 points, Eric Dortch-Jones scored 16, and David Duncan added a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Wilson added nine rebounds and five assists for the Blue Bears.
Livingstone built a 15-3 lead over the first five-plus minutes of the game with Nicklas Jonsson's trey being Lander's only points.
The Bearcats didn't gain any ground the rest of the half and were down 42-24 at the break, with Livingstone (16-for-31, 51 percent) having a big shooting edge over Lander (7-for-23, 30 percent) in the first half.
But Lander used a 9-0 run over the first three minutes of the second half to pull within 42-33. Jonsson hit a 3, Telvin Gabriel scored in the paint, Jonsson made a short jumper, and Purdie took a long pass from Jonsson and laid it in.
Dortch-Jones dunked during a 6-0 run that gave the Blue Bears a 48-33 lead inside the 16-minute mark. But Washington hit a 3 and converted a three-point play and Gabriel scored to cut Lander's deficit to 48-41 with 13 minutes left.
Dortch-Jones and Samuel McClendon hit 3s, helping extend Livingstone's advantage to 58-43 with 10-plus minutes to go.
Coleman's 3 pulled the Bearcats within 58-46 with 10:06 left. Another 3, this by Purdie, cut the deficit to 64-53 at the eight-minute mark.
Following Srdjan Ivic's blocked shot and steal, Washington was fouled at the other end and converted a free throw to pull Lander within 66-56 with 6:30 to go. Ivic spun in the lane and dropped in a layup to cut the deficit into single digits at 68-59 with 5:11 left.
Coleman's long 3 made it 70-62 with 4:33 to go. But Lander missed two 3s and a tap-in on the next possession, keeping the deficit at eight.
Wilson hit a pair of free throws, increasing Livingstone's lead to 76-62 with 2:51 left.
Washington's 3 from the top of the key pulled the Bearcats within 78-67 with 1:59 to go. The Blue Bears were able to run almost a minute off the clock with the help of a pair of offensive rebounds, Lander failed to convert when it finally got the ball back, and the lead stayed at 11 as the clock wound under a minute.
For the game, Livingstone made 28 of 55 shots from the floor (51 percent), 16 of 18 free throws (89 percent) and eight of 17 from 3-point range (47 percent) while holding a big 40-26 edge on the boards.
The Bearcats made 24 of 58 shots (41 percent), nine of 14 free throws (64 percent) and 12 of 32 from behind the arc (38 percent) while dishing out 22 assists.