Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball falls out of first in SAC

HICKORY, NC -- Playing without starting guard Duke Phipps (Newport News, VA) for the third straight game, Catawba, ranked 20th in NCAA II, dropped its second straight league game in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action 76-69 to Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday night at Shuford Gym. The loss dropped Catawba out of first place for the first time this season as the Tribe falls to 16-4 overall and 6-2 in the SAC. Lenoir-Rhyne improved to 7-13 and 5-3. The teams were in a tight battle over the initial eight minutes which saw three ties and nine lead changes. Lenoir-Rhyne took control with an 11-0 run to grab a 24-14 advantage at the 8:33 mark of the half. The Bears held its 10-point margin with just under five minutes in the half, but Catawba ended the frame on 12-1 run to take a 36-35 lead at the break on Quentin Bryant's (Badin, NC) three pointer with just two seconds left. The game remained close over the first five minutes of the last half until Jack Orr gave the Bears the lead for good at 47-45 with 13:49 left. Lenoir-Rhyne led by 11 at 59-48 with 6:50 to play, but a 6-1 Catawba run cut the deficit to 60-54 on Bryant's bucket at the 5:32 mark. Catawba missed several chances to get closer, but misfired on four free throw attempts. A three-pointer by Kevin Petty (Sanford, NC) with 2:44 left did cut the lead to four points at 63-59, but Randy Mauldin answered with a three-pointer for the Bears to regain control. Lenoir-Rhyne hit on all six free throw attempts in the final minute to hold off the Tribe. The Bears hit on 56.5% of its shots and held a 34-26 edge on the boards. Catawba shot just 41%. Roman Davis led five Lenoir-Rhyne players in double figures with 15 points, while Mauldin added 11. Ryan Pitts, Rashad Price and Tony Connelly each had 10, with Price dishing out 12 assists. Petty led Catawba with 21 points, while Terrence Hamilton added 18. Brian Carter had 12 points and six rebounds, while Bryan tossed in 10. #######

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