Fayetteville, N.C. -- The regular season has finally arrived.
During the preseason, University of Lynchburg men's basketball was picked fourth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference poll, received votes in D3Hoops.com's preseason rankings, and T.C. Thacker earned a preseason all-America honorable mention award.
After all those accoladtes, the Hornets began the 2021-22 campaign with an 83-70 win over Methodist on Sunday.
Two transfers, Carrington Young and Cameron Savage, were in the starting lineup for the Hornets. However, Isräel Lockamy, one of Lynchburg's 14 returners, knocked down the first points of the 2021-22 season with a corner three.
Methodist took an early 4-3 lead two minutes into play. Tharon Suggs responded with a jumper and the Hornets never relinquished the lead again. Suggs kickstarted a 34-3 run for the Hornets lasting over eight minutes and featuring seven different scorers.
Lynchburg kept Methodist uncomfortable the entire first half, pushing the pace on offense and muting the Monarchs on defense. The Hornets scored 32 points in the paint during the opening 20 minutes and shot 7-12 (58.3%) from three. Methodist went 9-33 (27.3) from the floor.
Suggs capped off an explosive first half with two free throws, getting to 18 points before the break. Lynchburg went into the locker room leading 51-21. The Hornets scored 50 points in one half for the first time since Jan. 27, 2021 and scored their most single-half points since hanging 52 on Emory & Henry in 2020.
Suggs came out of the break and continued his scoring ways, knocking down the first bucket of the second half.
Jalen Hargrove gave the Hornets a 34-point lead on an alley-oop from Jordan Parham with 11:21 to play. When he was not dishing out assists, Parham was knocking down threes. He ended the afternoon with 11 points on 3-4 (75%) shooting from downtown.
After Landon Sutton made the score 67-33 with a pair of free throws halfway through the second, the Monarchs ripped off a 24-6 scoring run and cut Lynchburg's lead to 73-57.
T.C. Thacker put Lynchburg back up by 20 with a layup off an assist from Young. Thacker finished the afternoon with 17 points and 10 boards, his fifth-consecutive double-double.
The Monarchs kept chipping away near the end of the game, but Lynchburg held on for an 83-70 win.
The Hornets won their eighth-straight season opener thanks to a team-high 22 points from Suggs and contributions from nine other scorers. Suggs shot 8-13 (61.5%) from the floor including 2-3 (66.7%) from deep. He also had a flawless performance at the free-throw line.
Lynchburg shot 52.9% (27-51) from the floor as a team, the team's best mark since going 36-65 (55.4%) against Eastern Mennonite on Dec. 7, 2019.
The Hornets (1-0) visit Mary Washington for their next game on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
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