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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball title hopes takes hit in double OT loss at LR

HICKORY, NC -- Lenoir-Rhyne outlasted visiting Catawba, pulling out a 98-96 double-overtime thriller in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Saturday night at Shuford Gym.  The Indians’ Helgi Magnusson (Reykjavik, ICELAND) missed a three-pointer from the corner as time ran out in the second overtime as the Bears, who have won seven straight games and 10 of their last 11 contests, remained in sole possession of first place in the league.  Lenoir-Rhyne improved to 13-7 overall and 7-1 in the SAC,   while the Indians suffered their third straight defeat in falling to 17-6 and 5-3.Lenoir-Rhyne jumped out to a quick 10-1 lead and held a 23-11 advantage nine minutes into the contest.  Catawba used a 10-0 run to claw back into the game and took a 40-36 edge at the break.  The Bears scored the first four points of the second half to tie the score, one of 16 times the contest was knotted, and the teams were separated by no more that three points until overtime.

Marcus Springs (Charlotte, NC) put the Bears up 68-67 on a three-pointer with 3:07 left, but Magnusson hit two free throws and Jolly Manning (Rocky Mount, NC) had a dunk to give Catawba a 71-68 lead.  Josh Kindred (Holly Springs, NC) made consecutive baskets to restore a 72-71 lead for L-R with 1:15 left.

Jamel Hamilton’s (Virginia Beach, VA) layup put the Tribe back on top, but Josh Rudder (Graham, NC) countered with a three-pointer with 32 seconds remaining, giving the Bears a 75-73 edge.  Norman Monroe (Newport News, VA) made two free throws with 19 seconds left to tie the game and the Bears missed two chances in the final seconds to win the game.

A three-point play by Rudder in the opening seconds of the first overtime gave the Bears the advantage, but Hamilton would give the Tribe an 86-85 lead on a pair of free throws with 1:06 to go.  Brian Graves (Newport News, VA) failed to increase the lead at the line with 29 seconds to go and the Bears went back on top on a Springs layup with six second to go.  The Indians pushed the ball up the court and Chris Wooldridge (Norfolk, VA) was fouled with 0.7 seconds remaining.  After missing the first opportunity, the junior canned the second to force another period.

Lenoir-Rhyne pulled out to a 93-89 lead on two Springs free throws in the second OT, but Magnusson made four straight to again tie the contest with 1:16 to go.  Springs made one of two free throws with 50 seconds left, but the Bears grabbed the rebound and Donte Watson added two with 28 seconds remaining.  Monroe canned a three-pointer for the Tribe to tie the game with 14 ticks left, but Rudder scored the winning basket for the Bears on a layup with three seconds left before Magnusson’s miss at the buzzer.

The Bears had three players hit for 20 or more points, including Springs, who finished with a career-high 25 points.  Kindred tied a career-high with 22 points and pulled down a personal-best 14 rebounds, while Rudder added 21 points.

Magnusson finished with a season-high 26 points and made 12-of-14 free-throw attempts and Hamilton added 20 points for the Indians.  Graves had 18 points and nine assists for Catawba, who made just 7-of-24 from three-point range.  Both teams shot over 45% from the field and 70% from the line with the Bears holding a 45-38 edge on the glass, including pulling down 19 offensive rebounds.

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