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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball Can't Keep Up With Hot-Shooting Bears

HICKORY, NC – Lenoir-Rhyne got 28 points from D.J. Blackmon and opened league play with a 95-77 win over visiting Catawba in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Wednesday night at Shuford Gym.  The Bears improve to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 4-3 and 0-1.

Blackmon canned 12-of-18 shots from the floor in garnering his game-high scoring output and also pulled down 13 rebounds.  Marcus Hodges followed with 15 points and hit on all three of his shots behind the arc.  Jeff Thomas added 11 off the bench and Alex Watkins tossed in 10 points.

Catawba was led by Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) and Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS), who each had 21 points.  Houston was 4-of-7 from three-point range and grabbed nine rebounds.  Fields was 8-of-10 from the floor.  Freshmen Lee Martin (Mt. Airy, NC/N. Surry HS/Hargrave) and Stephen Coles (Danville, VA/Washington HS) had eight and seven points, respectively.

Catawba once again dug an early deficit as Lenoir-Rhyne got off to an 18-8 lead.  The Bears led 45-36 at the break and withstood a Catawba rally at the start of the second half that saw the Indians pull within 47-44 in the opening two minutes.  That would be as close as the Tribe would get as the Indians could not overcome the hot shooting touch of the Bears.

A Blackmon dunk with 12 minutes remaining started a seven-point run that saw the Lenoir-Rhyne edge grow to 69-57.  A three-pointer by Hodges and a layup by Thomas saw the lead swell to 82-62 with just under seven minutes to play.

The Bears connected on 60% (38-of-63) of its shots on the night and held a 36-25 edge on the boards.  The Indians hit on nearly 50% (27-of-55), but committed 14 turnovers to a dozen for Lenoir-Rhyne.

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