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Basketball (M)

Catawba falls in overtime to Winston-Salem State

By Steve Hanf, The Salisbury Post
The sentimental favorite settled for second place Saturday night. Catawba College’s men’s basketball team dropped an 89-84 overtime decision to Winston-Salem State in the finale of the Walt Baker Basketball Classic. The event was being played for the first time after being named in honor of the late father of Indians head coach Jim Baker.“We wanted to win this for coach’s father, but we came up a little short,”Catawba junior guard Kevin Petty said. Catawba nearly pulled out a thrilling win in front of the home fans at Goodman Gym. The Indians trailed early by as many as 11 points before finally taking the lead midway through the second half. But a 25-10 turnover margin proved too much to overcome as the steady Rams pulled ahead in the OT. “It’s disappointing that we lost it the way we did,”Baker said. “I just felt like we beat ourselves in some places. They’re very good and you can’t play a good team and throw the ball away. You can’t make mistakes like that if you’re going to win.” The turnovers came in deadly spurts against the super-fast Rams (5-1) of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Guards Devonaire Deas and Centellis Tucker worked the half-court trap to perfection, combining for seven steals. Forward Marcus Best gladly gobbled up their leftovers with seven steals of his own. “We tried to break down the press, run out with it and try to find an open man to knock down the shot,”Petty said. “They just didn’t go down.” Indian miscues and missed shots led to a 12-2 Winston-Salem State run early in the first half. Catawba narrowed the deficit to 37-35 after a pair of high-arcing 3-pointers from big man Alex Luyk just before halftime, then finally took the lead with 10:10 to play in regulation on a three-point play by Petty, who scored 17 on the night. The Tribe never pulled away despite a big second half from junior forward Brian Carter, who paced all scorers with 22. Every time Catawba (5-1) increased the lead to three points, Shawn Alexander (19 points) or Deas (18) responded with key shots. “It’s a game of runs. I tell all the kids it’s like the ebb and flow of the tides,”Baker said. “Once we got it tied up, we could never put together a solid run.” The Rams led 77-75 in the final minute but missed a clinching shot. Indian senior Terrence Hamilton tied the game on a fastbreak layup with 17 seconds remaining, and the game headed to overtime following two State misses at the other end. Catawba led twice in the extra period on free throws, but the Rams had more fuel left in the tank to keep the trap alive. The Indians turned the ball over twice and shot 2-for-10 from the floor over the final five minutes, while the Rams went 10-for-12 at the foul line to maintain the advantage. “We didn’t react well. We got double-teamed and nobody moved,”Baker said of the traps. “I don’t if that’s inexperience or poor coaching, but hopefully we can straighten that out.” *** Notes: How awesome are the players on the all-tournament team? So great that only four were named instead of five, for some reason. For Catawba, Phipps and Petty made the squad, while the Rams placed Shawn Alexander and Deas. Deas also earned tourney MVP. WINSTON-SALEM STATE (89) — Alexander 19, Deas 18, Henry 12, Best 19, Thompson 4, Tucker 6, Oliver 3, English 8, Maynard. CATAWBA (84) — Carter 22, Hamilton 12, Luyk 12, Petty 17, Phipps 11, Bryant 4, Parks 6, Jernigan, Whitehead. Win-Salem State 37 40 12 — 89 Catawba 35 42 7 — 84 *** Contact Steve Hanf at 704-797-4256 or shanf@salisburypost.com .

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