GREENWOOD – Rahu Purdie scored 25 points, Jordan Dingle added a career-high 19 points and Srdjan Ivic posted a double-double as the Lander Bearcats built a 22-point lead and held off non-conference foe Livingstone College 89-83 Saturday afternoon at Horne Arena.
Lander built a 42-20 lead late in the first half and saw the advantage dwindle to three before pulling away in the final minute.
The Bearcats improved to 3-4. Livingstone fell to 1-3.
Purdie scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half as he fell two points shy of tying his career high.
Dingle had 19 points, six rebounds and three assists for Lander. Ivic came off the bench to contribute 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, 11 on the defensive end.
Roger Ray led Livingstone with 22 points and eight steals. Cameron Burhannon scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor while Ramel Belfield added 18 points on 7-of-10 accuracy for the Blue Bears, who caught fire shooting the ball in the second half. Navar Elmore led Livingstone with four blocked shots.
Livingstone shot 57 percent from the floor (32 of 56) to Lander's 44 percent (26 of 58). But the Bearcats made 29 of 37 free throws to just 10 of 20 for Livingstone. Purdie made nine of 11 free throws for the hosts.
Lander took the lead for good at 5-4 on Tate's three-point play while Jonsson and Dingle followed with 3s for an 11-4 advantage with 16:21 left in the opening half.
After Belfield's trey pulled Livingstone within 16-11, the Bearcats scored the game's next nine points. Dingle drove the baseline for a layup, Sergio Smith stole a pass and drove for a dunk, and Rankin hit a layup and added a 3 to make it 25-11 with 9:38 to go.
Lander's lead doubled to 30-15 on Kade Marra's two free throws at the 7:06 mark in the middle of another 9-0 run.
Purdie swished a 3, increasing the Bearcats lead to 42-20 with 3:05 left. It would be the largest lead of the game.
Lander led 46-29 at the break.
The Blue Bears opened the second half with a 12-3 run, storming right back into the game. Ray scored eight of those 12 points, including three free throws after being fouled behind the arc to pull Livingstone within 49-41 with 17:11 to go.
Ray's second 3-pointer of the half pulled the Blue Bears within 51-44 with 16:41 left.
The Bearcats responded with an 8-1 run including Ivic's three-point play, Dingle's driving basket, and Purdie's 3 from the right side increasing their lead to 59-44 at the 14-minute mark.
Livingstone climbed back within single digits again on Burhannon's layup, making it 65-56 with 11:14 to go. The Blue Bears cut it to four, 69-65, on Ray's 3 from the right side with 6:30 left.
Tony Stallworth's transition 3 from the left side made it a one-possession game for the first time since the opening minutes as Livingstone was within 71-68 with 5:31 to go.
Lander built the lead to 76-68 when Tate put back his own miss, Ivic drove in for a layup and Jonsson made one of two free throws. But Lydell Elmore dunked off an alley-oop pass from Ray and the Blue Bears closed within 76-70 with 3:48 left.
Livingstone was within six again on Ray's tear drop shot, making it 82-76 with 1:12 to go.
Another Ray to Elmore alley-oop pulled the Bears within 83-78 with 50 seconds left.
Jonsson's two free throws pushed Lander's advantage to 85-78 with 46 seconds to go. But Burhannon's 3 cut the deficit to 85-81 at the 36-second mark.
But Lander put the game away, starting with Jonsson's long inbounds pass to Tate who made a twisting basket in the lane for an 87-81 lead with 33 seconds left. After Ray missed two free throws, Ivic added two free throws to put the game away.