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Basketball (M)

Late Free Throws Seal Men's Basketball Win Over Tusculum

SALISBURY, NC – Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) hit two free throws with 17 seconds left and Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS) added two more with eight seconds remaining as 23rd-ranked Catawba held off an upset bid from visiting Tusculum, taking a 67-64 win in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Goodman Gym.  The Catawba Indians improve to 11-3 and 3-0 in the SAC, while the Pioneers fall to 8-6 and 1-3.

In a see-saw game, Josh Bennett (Snow Hill, MD) gave Tusculum a 64-63 on a layup with 28 seconds remaining.  Houston would give Catawba the lead back on the last of 24 lead changes.  Tusculum failed to get a shot off on its final two possessions with turnovers.  The game also had 13 ties.

Houston finished with 18 points to pace Catawba, who hit just 12-of-24 at the line until the final seconds. Bennett had a monster game for Tusculum, posting a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.  Ryan Troutman (Mt. Washington, KY) followed with 14 points for the Pioneers and hit on four 3-pointers.

For most of the game the teams were separated by a single basket.  An early three-pointer by Ryan Troutman gave the Pioneers their largest lead at 8-4, but Catawba used a 7-0 run to close the half and grab a 35-29 edge.  The Indians upped its advantage to eight early in the second half.   A tip-in by Rob Troutman (Mt. Washington, KY) with 12:27 left cut the margin to 45-42 and teams would be separated by no more than three points the rest of the way.

Ryan Troutman hit consecutive 3-pointers to put Tusculum up 54-51 with 7:53 left, but Catawba scored six straight of its own for a 57-54 edge before another triple by Ryan Troutman tied the score again.  Cliff Burns (Cooleemee, NC/Davie Co. HS) gave the Indians a 61-59 lead then Ryan Troutman hit his final three of the day to give Tusculum a 62-61 edge with 2:19 remaining.

Houston returned the lead for Catawba on a jumper with 51 ticks left before Bennett’s layup gave Tusculum its final lead.  Dominick Reid (Charlotte, NC/Cannon School) also reached double figures for Catawba with 12 points.  Fields and Donald Rutherford (Morganton, NC/Freedom HS) each had 10 points off the bench.  

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