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Basketball (M)

Sluggish First Half Slows Men's Basketball at Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, TN -- Tusculum pulled away from visiting Catawba down the stretch and posted a 59-50 victory in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.  The Pioneers improve to 6-7 overall and 1-2 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 8-6 and 1-2.

Catawba led 40-38 after a pair of free throws from Dominick Reid (Charlotte, NC/Cannon School) with 10:07 left, but scored only two points over the next five minutes.  The Pioneers took control during that span, going up 48-42 on a jumper by Kyle Moore with 5:07 remaining.  Reid hit two more free throws with 3:24 to go to get Catawba within four points, but a three-pointer by Jimmy Boone staked the Pioneers to a 53-46 lead.

Tusculum made four free throws in the final minute to ice the issue and was perfect on 13 tries from the charity stripe for the game.  Moore hit all eight of his free throw attempts and led the Pioneers with 18 points.  Josh Bennett added 17 points and seven rebounds.  Rob Troutman also reached double digits with 11 points, while Justin Steigerwald and Wes Taylor each grabbed 10 rebounds.

Stephen Coles (Danville, VA/Washington HS) led Catawba with a career-high 11 points.  He added seven rebounds.  Reid chipped in with 10 points and dished out 10 assists.  Catawba hit just 34% (19-of-56) from the field and was 1-of-14 from behind the arc.  The Pioneers shot 43%.

Tusculum never trailed in the first half and used a big surge over the last nine and half minutes to build a 30-21 lead at the break.  The Pioneers moved away from a 16-15 lead with a 14-2 run.  Catawba shot just 8-of-30 (26.7%) in the first half, but quickly erased the deficit in the opening minutes of the second half, hitting six of its first nine shots in a 10-2 run for a 33-32 lead.

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