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Basketball (M)

Hamilton helps Men's Basketball to third straight league win

MARS HILL, N.C. -- Catawba College got 19 points from freshman Jamel Hamilton (Virginia Beach, Va.) and defeated host Mars Hill 77-60 in South Atlantic Conference menís basketball action on Wednesday night at Stanford Arena. The Indians improve to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the SAC, while Mars Hill falls to 9-10 and 2-2. Catawba charged out of the gates and raced to a 32-11 lead after 12 minutes following a dunk by Jolly Manning (Rocky Mount, N.C.). The Lions clawed their way back into the game at the break, cutting the deficit to five just before the half at 39-34 before the Tribe took a 41-34 lead at the break. The Indians connected on 57% in the opening half, hitting on 6-of-10 from three-point range, and enjoyed a 22-12 edge on the boards. Catawba did have 11 turnovers at the break and Mars Hill stayed in the game by going 11-of-15 at the line, while the Indians were just 1-of-3. Mars Hill would continue its rally to start the second half as Catawba went scoreless for the opening four minutes before a Brian Graves (Newport News, Va.) broke the ice on a layup with 15:39 to go to give the Tribe a 43-40 lead. Walt Baxley would answer for Mars Hill with a three-pointer to tie the game at 43-43 to cap a 26-7 Lion run to bring Mars Hill back from a 19-point deficit with five minutes left in the opening half. The Indians would go on a 12-2 run after Mars Hill tied the game and led 55-45 after a three-pointer by Jason Diggs (Christiansburg, Va.) with 9:42 remaining. Jamison McIver capped a six-point Lion run at the 8:14 mark to cut the deficit to 55-51. Catawba would again spurt out, grabbing a 66-54 lead with 3:12 remaining after two three-pointers and a layup by Hamilton. Diggs had a three-point play to start the 11-3 run. Helgi Magnusson (Reykjavik, ICELAND) and Manning each posted double-double for Catawba. Magnusson had 13 points and 11 boards, while Manning added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Graves also reached double-figures for Catawba with 13 and dished out five assists. Baxley led all scorers with 32 in a losing effort for Mars Hill. The Indians finished the game with a huge 51-24 edge on the boards and shot 49% to just 32% for the Lions. Hamilton hit five of the nine Catawba three-pointers. #######

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