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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball Rallies From 18-Point Deficit to Top J.C. Smith

SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit to claim an 86-81 win over Johnson C. Smith in men’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon in the Walt Baker Classic at Goodman Gym.  The host Catawba Indians evened their record at 2-2, while the Golden Bulls fall to 3-3.

Catawba dug itself out of a big first half hole.  The Golden Bulls hit on 14 of its first 18 shots, while Catawba made just 5-of-20 as J.C. Smith built a 42-24 edge with four and half minutes left in the opening half.  The Indians were able to cut the margin to 45-32 at the half.

The Indians made their surge to start the second half.  Two three-pointers and a layup by Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/) brought Catawba within 48-46 with 16:22 left and Cliff Burns (Cooleemee, NC) gave the Indians their first lead on a jumper with 15:46 to go at 49-48. 

A three-pointer by Isaac Rose (Jonesville, NC) and two by Dominick Reid (Charlotte, NC) helped push the Tribe edge to 78-65 with just under seven minutes left.  JCSU would score nine straight points, getting two baskets by David Sanders (Buffalo, NY) and a three-pointer by Ryan Scott (Reston, VA) to knot the game at 79-79 with 2:25 left. 

Donald Rutherford (Morganton, NC) would give Catawba the lead with a free throw with 1:45 to go and Houston added a layup after a steal by Reid for an 82-79 lead with 30 seconds left.  Maurice Hooper (Reidsville, NC) pulled the Golden Bulls within 82-81 with 17 seconds remaining, but Houston hit two free throws with 15 seconds left to put Catawba on top 84-81.

J.C. Smith had one final chance to tie, but a turnover led to two free throws by Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC) with two seconds remaining with iced the issue.  The Indians overcame its poor shooting at the start to finish at 43.5% for the game, including a sparkling 58% in the second half.  Houston led all scorers with 26 points and added seven rebounds.  Norman Monroe (Newport News, VA) added 11 points and Fields had 10.

The Golden Bulls made 51.7% for the game, cooling off to 44% in the final half.  Tavaras Little (Elgin, SC) came off the bench to lead JCSU with 19 points, while Scott had 16.  Jerry Hollis (Charlotte, NC) posted a double-double with 11 points and 17 rebounds.  The Golden Bulls held a 44-35 edge on the boards, but had 21 turnovers to just nine for Catawba.

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