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Catawba’s Brian Carter hits 32 in victory over Livingstone

By David Shaw, The Salisbury Post Maybe a change in weather was all Brian Carter needed Wednesday night. As snowflakes accumulated outside Goodman Gym, the Catawba junior walked in his own winter wonderland in the Indians’ 75-68 men’s basketball victory over visiting Livingstone.“The last couple games I hadn’t been scoring much. Something was missing,” Carter said after roasting the Blue Bears for a career-high 32 points and earning MVP honors in the first Salisbury Roundball Classic. “I started feeling it in practice (Tuesday) and then tonight, surprisingly, I just found it.” He found it in handfuls as Catawba (9-2) kicked off the new year with its fourth win in the past five games. The slashing, 190-pound forward from Alexandria, Va. shot 12-for-16 from the floor and gave Livingstone (2-9) all it could handle. “Early in the year Brian was relying too much on his jump shot,” said Catawba coach Jim Baker. “He wanted to be a scorer, but that’s not his game. Tonight you saw his game. Stickbacks, layups, second shots, running the floor. He quietly did it all pretty well.” Even Livingstone coach Buck Joyner had to agree. “Don’t get me wrong — he’s a great player,” he said. “I’d love to have him myself. But what he did tonight wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. We got in foul trouble and (Catawba) was patient enough to get him the ball in mismatch situations. He should have done what he did.” Carter, limited to three points in 21 foul-plagued minutes in Saturday’s victory at N.C. Central, returned in spectacular fashion. He picked his spots with the precision of a surgeon, pouring in 20 first-half points. Then during a nine-minute stretch of the second half he connected on five of six field goal attempts as Catawba built a 15-point advantage. “I was just taking advantage of what they were giving me,” said Carter, who scored 31 points in a season-opening win against Pfeiffer. “If I’m open and my teammates get me the ball in scoring position, I’ve got to knock it down.” “You know, (Carter) didn’t do much the last few games,” said teammate Alex Luyk. “Maybe he was a little mad about that.” It was Luyk who applied the decisive stamp after Livingstone’s Moise Nash nailed a 3-pointer to tie the score, 22-22, with 9:21 remaining in the opening stanza. The 6-foot-9 Spaniard triggered a 9-0 Catawba run with a short hook from the right side. A minute later he gained the left baseline and scored on an earthquake dunk. Finally, he unleashed a 3-point bomb from the left side that put the hosts up 31-22 with 6:01 on the clock. “Alex got it going pretty good and we just exploded,” said Baker. “When those threes are going in we can be an explosive team..” Livingstone drew as close as 69-66 when Paul Michael canned a short-range fadeaway jumper with 1:32 to play. But the Bears were their own worst enemy, missing eight of their final 10 free throws — including a pair by high-scorer Jerome LaGrange with 35 seconds remaining. “We had a chance in the end but I think the kids gave it up and began to drop their heads when we missed two front ends on some free throws,” said Joyner. “I think they felt like they didn’t have a chance to win.” *** NOTES: Catawba had only 12 turnovers, well below its season average of 20.8 per game. ... The Indians open SAC play at 4 p.m. Saturday against visiting Lenoir-Rhyne. ... The Blue Bears looked rusty in their first action since Dec. 15. They shot only 34 percent from the field, including 13-for-45 in the second half. #####

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