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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball Uses Big Rally to Steal Opening Win

MISENHEIMER, NC -- Catawba rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final two and half minutes to steal a season opening win from Livingstone 82-78 on Sunday night at Merner Gym in the Highway 52 Shootout.  Donald Rutherford (Morganton, NC/Freedom HS) scored 17 of his career-high 24 points in the final half to lead the Catawba Indians.

The Indians rallied back, forcing 18 Blue Bear turnovers in the second half and winning the rebound battle 26-17 in the final 20 minutes.  The Indians shot just 28% (11-of-39) in the opening half, but improved to 34% for the game and cashed in on 27-of-36 (75%) at the line.

Catawba trailed 78-71 in the final three minutes before the rally.  Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) made two free throws at the 2:38 mark and Justin Huntley (Mooresville, NC/Mooresville HS) added two more with 1:54 to go.  Stephen Coles (Danville, VA/Washington HS) had a put back with 1:30 left after a steal by Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS) to bring the Tribe to within 78-77.

The Indians took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes as Donzell Williams (Salem, VA/Glenvar HS) converted a layup following a steal by Lee Martin (Mt. Airy, NC/N. Surry HS/Hargrave) with 1:10 to go.  Livingstone had one final chance but turned the ball over with six seconds to play.  Fields hit a free throw then rebounded a miss and salted the game away with two more from the stripe.

Fields added 21 points in the win, while Houston also reached double figures with 14 points.  Williams and Coles each tallied eight points.

Livingstone led virtually the entire contest.  Fields gave Catawba its lone lead before the frantic finish at 3-1 on a three-pointer just 1:12 into the game.   The Blue Bears led by as many as 14 in the opening half and held a 46-33 edge at the break.

The Blue Bears pushed the lead to 58-43 after a three-pointer by Jarred Stockton with 13:48 remaining.  Catawba trailed by ten at 63-53 with just under ten minutes to play before pulling within 63-60 at the 7:43 mark.

Aaron Caruthers led Livingstone with 21 points and dished out five assists.  Stockton posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.  Greg Henry and Keith Darden each scored 11 points.  King Cannon had nine points and 10 boards.

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