Aug. 22, 2013. The Lees-McRae College Men’s basketball team will face a rigorous schedule this winter, squaring off against three NCAA Division I schools as well as some of the top talent Conference Carolinas and the NCAA Division II have to offer, announced head coach Steve Hardin Thursday.
With 13 talented newcomers and a veteran returning core, the Bobcats are primed to take the next step this season in Hardin’s second year at the helm. Perhaps the biggest change this winter will come in the form of Hardin’s new system FIRE, which stands for fearless, intense, relentless and effort. In this system, the Bobcats will play and excited and up-tempo brand of basketball that will put constant pressure on their opponents.
“Our schedule will be extremely tough with three NCAA Division I games and such a high caliber of [NCAA] Division II teams,” said Hardin. “We have a young and totally new team this year after losing 95 percent of our overall stats from last season. Building our culture and program before christmas will be an extreme challenge. I will put our guys through the gauntlet early on, but I feel it will make us stronger and ready for the second half of the season with our always tough conference play.”
Lees-McRae will open the season on Saturday, Nov. 2, when the Bobcats travel to Greensboro to take on the UNCG in a preseason exhibition. The Bobcat’s first regular season game will take place a week later on Nov. 9 when they square off against perennial South Atlantic Conference power Catawba College at 8 p.m., followed by a 8 p.m. matchup with Lenoir-Rhyne University on the Catawba campus the next day.
Following a Nov. 13 tilt at Brevard College, the Bobcats will continue their road trip with back-to-back games at Livingstone College and Johnson C. Smith University on Nov. 15 and 16. The Bobcats will then take the court against their closest geographical opponent in Appalachian State University on Nov. 19 in the teams’ annual exhibition contest.
Lees-McRae will host the Bobcat Classic on Nov. 22 and 23, welcoming Francis Marion University, Bluefield Staet College and conference foe North Greenville University to Williams Gymnasium for a two-day four-game classic. The Bobcats will take on Francis Marion Friday night, followed by Bluefield State on Saturday afternoon to kick off their home schedule.
Following an early December trip to Carson Newman College on Dec. 2, the Bobcats will open their conference slate against King University on Dec. 7 in Bristol, Tenn. The Bobcats then return home to take on NCAA Division II Emory and Henry College on Dec. 10, followed by a trip to Montreat College on Dec. 13 to close out the 2013 calendar year.
Lees-McRae will open 2014 with a Jan. 3 trip to High Point to before resuming its conference schedule at Belmont Abbey College the following day. The Bobcats then return to Williams Gymnasium for six of their next seven games, including matchups with Erskine College, Pfeiffer University, Barton College, North Greenville, King and Limestone College.
After a short two-game roadtrip to Pfeiffer and Bluefield State, the Bobcats will return home for a Feb. 6 matchup with Warren Wilson College. The Bobcats then hit the road for three games, traveling to Erskin, North Greenville and Barton before returning to Williams Gymnasium for a Feb. 19 tilt with Mount Olive.
Lees-McRae will celebrate senior day on Feb. 22 against Belmont Abbey before closing out the regular season with a Feb. 25 trip to Limestone.