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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball Has Season End With Loss to USCA in Regional Semifinal

AUGUSTA, GA -- Catawba had its season come to an end on Sunday in the semifinals of the NCAA II Southeast Regional Tournament with an 85-72 loss the second-seeded USC Aiken at Christenberry Fieldhouse.  The Pacers shot 51% from the field and 50% from three-point range to improve to 25-7 and advance to Tuesday’s final.  The Catawba Indians ends their season at 22-10.

 

Cordaryl Ballard was one of five Pacers to score in double figures, leading the team with 18 points.  Javonte Clanton had 17 with six rebounds, while Josh Dollard added 16 points and 14 rebounds.  Seth Leonard and Chris Commons scored 11 each.

Catawba was led by Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS), who earned all-tournament honors, coming off the bench to lead all scorers with 24 points.  Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) added 16, while Dominick Reid (Charlotte, NC/Cannon School) had 12 with seven assists.  Donald Rutherford (Morganton, NC/Freedom HS) posted 10 points with a team-high six rebounds.

USC Aiken began the game on a tear from three-point range, hitting four of their first six shots from long range and collecting seven triples in the first half alone.  Catawba kept pace and trailed 12-10 with 16:23 left following a jumper from Cliff Burns (Cooleemee, NC/Davie Co. HS).  USC Aiken then went on a 16-6 run over the next nine minutes, holding Catawba scoreless for five minutes.

The Indians got back on track and cut the lead back to 10 with 7:11 to go in the first following a jumper from Rutherford, but USCA answered with five straight points from Dollard, who collected a double-double in the first half alone with 13 points and 10 rebounds.  USCA answered the final four Catawba scores with buckets of their own, including five straight points from Ballard, to lead 47-30 at the half.

The Pacers extended the lead to 21 early in the second half on a Clanton three-pointer and a Ballard jumper.  Catawba responded with the guard duo of Reid and Fields, who combined to score 15 of Catawba’s next 17 points as part of a 17-8 run that cut the lead to 12 with 9:54 to play.

USC Aiken maintained that lead for the next five minutes until the Indians connected on a Houston three-pointer with 3:52 left that cut the lead to single digits for the first time in the period.  Catawba got as close as eight with 3:17 to go on a turnaround layup from Burns, but Catawba would score only three points in the final three minutes, going 1-for-9 from the field.  The Pacers hit four of six free throws in the final 44 seconds to preserve the win.

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