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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball drops second straight league game

CLINTON, SC -- Presbyterian connected on four straight free throws in the final 12 seconds to hold off visiting Catawba en route to a 75-69 victory in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the Ross E. Templeton Center.  The Blue Hose improve to 15-6 overall and 5-2 in the SAC with the win, while Catawba falls to 17-5 and 5-2.
The first half was closely contested with three lead changes and two ties.  PC used an 8-2 run to pull ahead 17-11 on a jumper by senior Tray Ballenger (Wellford, SC) at the 10:51 mark.  The Indians trimmed the lead to only a basket on two occasions over the next four minutes, but could not regain the lead.  The Blue Hose pushed the lead to its largest margin of the half at seven points on three occasions, the last coming on a pair of free throws by sophomore Drew Biggs (Alpharetta, GA) with :25 seconds remaining. PC took a 33-26 lead into halftime.

PC freshman Bryan Bostic (Norcross, GA) led all scorers with nine first half points, while Helgi Magnusson (Reykajavik, IECLAND) led the Indians with eight points.  Catawba would shoot just 37% in the opening half.

The second half opened with the Blue Hose pushing the lead to double figures at 40-30 on a pair of free throws by Travis Sligh (Columbia, SC) at the 16:13 mark.  The Indians responded with the 10-4 run capped off by a three-pointer from Brian Graves (Newport News, VA) to trim the lead to 44-40 with 11:57 remaining.  The Blue Hose battled back and extended lead back to double figures at 56-45 on a layup from Martynas Versinskas (Kaunas, LITHUANIA) with 6:31 left in the game.

Catawba would answer the PC run by cutting the lead back to single digits in the final three minutes.  The Indians would pull to within just one point at 67-66 with 37 seconds remaining on Jamel Hamilton's (Virginia Beach, VA) layup.  Graves had a chance to tie the score in the final 20 seconds, but misfired from the lane when the Tribe was down 71-69.  

Versinskas led the Blue Hose with 14 points and six boards coming off the bench, while Johann Collins (Raleigh, NC) chipped in 13 points and four boards.  Bostic added 11 points, three assists and Biggs rounded out PC's double figure scorers with 10 points on seven-of-eight shooting from the line.

Catawba was led by Magnusson's game-high 16 points to go along with four boards, while Graves chipped in 13 points and four assists. Hamilton came off the bench to add 11 points and three boards for the Indians.

Presbyterian finished the game at 45% shooting from the field, while the Indians hit on just 39%, far below their season average of nearly 50%.  PC also hit on nearly 75% from the line, while Catawba canned 62% and missed several key chances at the line in the final minutes.  The Blue Hose controlled the boards 42-34 to help offset a 21-13 deficit in turnovers.

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