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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball Falls At Lenoir-Rhyne

HICKORY, NC -- Lenoir-Rhyne remained atop the South Atlantic Conference standings with an 83-73 win over visiting Catawba in men’s basketball action on Saturday night at Shuford Gym.  The Bears improve to 15-9 overall and 10-4 in the SAC with their fifth straight victory.  The Catawba Indians fall to 16-9 and 8-6.

D.J. Blackmon (Albemarle, NC) led the Bears with 19 points with Marcus Hodges (Wake Forest, NC) and Elliott McDowell (Canton, NC) adding 18 points each.  L-R improved to 34-3 in its last 37 league regular season home games.

The Bears grabbed a 39-29 lead at halftime and led by as many as 17 points (49-32 with 16:53 left) in the second half before Catawba closed the margin to 56-49 on a three-pointer by Justin Huntley (Mooresville, NC/Mooresville HS) with 9:33 remaining.

However, back-to-back three-pointers by Hodges and junior guard Ryan Crawford (Staunton, VA) pushed Lenoir-Rhyne's lead back to 13 at 62-49.  Catawba got within 74-68 with 1:42 remaining, but the Bears did enough at the line, canning 7-of-10 in the final, to hold on.

Catawba's Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) led all scorers with 20 points, while Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS) added 17 points off the bench despite the loss.  Hodges hit all seven field goal attempts and the Bears connected on 26-of-33 free throw shots (79 percent).

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