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Basketball (M)

Subs instrumental in Catawba men’s victory

By Bret Strelow, The Salisbury Post Catawba coach Jim Baker went first to Quentin Bryant, putting in the reserve guard with 17 minutes to play in a tight game against Lenoir-Rhyne. Baker started pulling strings again three minutes later, opting to insert Jacob Parks and Reggie Proctor into the game. The new-look Indians, with only two starters on the floor, led the Bears by only four at the time. By the time the last player among the less-tested trio made his way to the bench, the outcome was no longer in doubt.Catawba, thanks to the performances of three reserves, pulled away from a close contest in the second half and defeated Lenoir-Rhyne 87-78 on Saturday in the SAC opener at Goodman Gymnasium. Lenoir-Rhyne tied the score at 48-48 with 13:07 to play, but the Indians (10-2, 1-0 in the SAC) — with Kevin Petty and Brian Carter the only starters still on the floor — went on a 9-0 run in the next 2:13 to take control. “The depth of a team is what makes a team,”Baker told his team in the locker room shortly after the game. Baker illustrated that point by turning to Proctor, Bryant and Parks during a tightly contested game against the rival Bears. Proctor, who didn’t play in the first half, entered the game along with Parks with Catawba ahead 48-44 with 13:51 to play. Lenoir-Rhyne (2-11, 0-1) tied the game 44 seconds later, but when Proctor finally left the floor with 6:23 left, the Indians led 74-56. Proctor, who came into the game averaging 5.4 minutes a contest, played nine in the second half and had five points and five rebounds. “Most of us just sit around, waiting to get in the game. It felt pretty good to get in the game and comeback like that,”Proctor said. “We just tried to play hard, get the minutes in and get the score up so the other people on the bench could get in the game.” Baker said that when two rivals face off, the team that doesn’t beat itself has the best chance to win. That’s in part why he also went with Parks and Bryant — two reliable seniors. Bryant had two assists and four rebounds during Catawba’s second-half spurt. His 3-pointer from the left wing with 8:37 to play gave the Indians their first double-digit lead of the game. Bryant played 20 minutes in the contest and finished with five points and six boards. Parks, like Proctor, also played nine minutes, and he shot 6 of 10 from the line and had eight points. Parks earned eight of those free-throw tries in the second half, and he hit four during a three-minute stretch in which Catawba turned a tie into an eight-point lead. “Every person on the team has an equal shot,” Parks said. “If you perform, you’re going to be able to get out there on the court. Everybody knows their role and accepts it.” Said Carter,“All of them are good players, they just have good players in front of them right now.” The Indians sealed the contest once Carter hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Catawba a 16-point edge. Carter had a game-high 20 points and was one of four Indians to reach double figures. Terrence Hamilton had 14 and Petty and Duke Phipps each had 12. The Bears also put four players in double figures, led by Roman Davis’ 14 points off the bench. Lenoir-Rhyne, which trailed 37-36 at the half, hung in the game by shooting 58.6 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. The Bears, which had lost seven of its last eight games coming in, had shot 39 percent from the floor during that stretch. The final 5 minutes, 20 seconds of the first half featured 10 lead changes. “They were hitting some tough shots, and we gambled some,”Baker said.“We gave them some open shots. We were playing hard, I just don’t know how smart we were playing.” That changed once Baker went to his bench, which initially looked like a gamble in its own right. It turned out to be a safe, albeit rewarding, bet. *** NOTES:The Indians shot 46 free throws, 37 more than the Bears. Catawba made 25. ... Lenoir-Rhyne point guard Rashad Price landed awkwardly on a desperation 3-pointer at the end of the first half and sprained his left ankle. He didn’t play at all in the second half after logging 18 minutes before intermission. ... The Indians had some nice dunks, including a reverse jam by Carter in the first half and a two-handed dunk by Hamilton off a behind-the-back pass from Carter in the second half. ... None were better, though, than one by L-R’s Tony Connelly in the first half. The 6-foot-1 guard raced in from the top of the key and dunked with one hand over Alex Luyk, Catawba’s 6-9 center. LENOIR-RHYNE (78) — Davis 14, Orr 13, Pitts 12, Mauldin 11, Connelly 6, Morris 6, Price 5, Moser 5, Tyrance 4, Yelverton 2, Hemby. CATAWBA (87) — Carter 20, Hamilton 14, Petty 12, Phipps 12, Parks 8, Luyk 6, Bryant 5, Proctor 5, Robertson 3, Whitehead 2, Parker, Everett, Owens, Jernigan. Lenoir-Rhyne 36 42 — 78 Catawba 37 50 — 87 #####

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