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Basketball (M)

#14 Men's Basketball Stop Three-Game Slide With Win Over Belmont Abbey

HICKORY, NC -- Fourteenth-ranked Catawba built a comfortable halftime lead and cruised to a 94-76 win over Belmont Abbey in men’s basketball action on Tuesday afternoon Shuford Gym in Lenoir-Rhyne’s Moretz Sports Classic.  The win improves the Catawba Indians to 9-3, while the Crusaders fell to 5-3.

With the game tied at 14-all, Catawba out-scored the Crusaders 37-12 over an 11 span of the opening period.  Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS) scored a dozen of his 16 first-half points in a surge that built an 18-14 lead to 32-20 at the 8:45 mark of the half.

The big run gave Catawba a 51-26 lead before the Crusaders scored the final five points of the half to trim the margin to 51-30 at the break.  Belmont Abbey would trail 60-34 in the opening stages of the final half then used a 14-0 run to close within 60-48 with 14 minutes to play.

Catawba righted the ship from there, scoring 16 of the next 21 points for a 76-53 edge with 9:25 remaining.  Finnur Magnusson (Reykjavik, ICELAND/Wesleyan Academy) and Isaac Rose (Jonesville, NC/W. Forsyth HS) each had a jumper and a three-pointer in the run.  Magnusson had all nine of his points after the break.

Fields led the Indians with 20 points, while Cliff Burns (Cooleemee, NC/Davie Co. HS) and Rose followed with 13.  Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) chipped in with 12 points and three blocks.  Catawba shot 51% from the field and set a school record by going a perfect 14-of-14 at the line.  The previous mark of free throws without a miss was eight against UNC Pembroke in 1983.

Jonathan Jackson led Belmont Abbey with 18 points.  Deonte Murphy and Kashif Gumbs each tossed in 11.  The Crusaders hit on just 38% from the field.

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