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Basketball (M)

Rutherford Goes For 30 Again, Wins it on Tip-In in Closing Seconds

MONROE, NC -- Senior Donald Rutherford’s (Morganton, NC/Freedom HS) tip-in with six seconds left provided visiting Catawba with a 75-73 win over Wingate in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Wednesday night at Cuddy Arena.  Rutherford equaled career-highs in both scoring (30 pts) and rebounding (13 pts) in posting a double-double for the Catawba Indians, who improve to 13-7 overall and 6-3 in the SAC.  The Bulldogs fall to 11-10 and 4-6.

Rutherford was coming off a 30-point game at Carson-Newman last Wednesday where he hit on 14-of-17 shots and was nearly as proficient at Wingate, making 13-of-18 from the floor.  Rob Fields (Orangeburg, NC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS) and Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) each added 13 points in the win.

The Indians led by five after a jumper by Lee Martin (Mt. Airy, NC/N. Surry/Hargrave) at 72-67 with just over three minutes to play.  The Bulldogs cut away at the lead as Odell Turner canned a jumper and a pair of free throws to bring Wingate within 72-71 with 2:30 left.  Rutherford hit one free throw with 1:52 to go for a 73-71 lead then Wingate tied the game with 36 seconds to go on a jumper by Paidrick Matilus.

Catawba set up for the final shot and Rutherford tipped in a miss from Martin.  Wingate had a final chance, but Turner missed a jumper inside and Quan Alexander’s follow shot was after the buzzer.  It marked the 14th win in 15 games for Catawba against league teams in games that have been decided by four points or less.

The Indians shot just 38% in the opening half and led 38-30.  Catawba improved to just over 55% in the second half, but were outrebounded 21-11.  Wingate also hit four of its five three-pointers after the break and Catawba just two of its nine in the last half. 

Wingate held a double-digit lead at 20-10 in the opening eight minutes then Catawba used a 17-6 run to take its first lead on a dunk by Rutherford.  The run continued and saw the Indian lead grow to 35-26 following a three-pointer by Fields. 

The Bulldogs rallied back midway through the second half and led 55-51 after a jumper by Turner with 10:50 to play.  Rutherford scored three quick baskets to put Catawba up then Matilus canned a three-pointer for a 58-57 Wingate lead.  Rutherford answered with 8:15 left and the Indians held the lead until the Bulldogs tied the game in the final minute.

Alexander led Wingate with 18 points.  Matilus had 17 points and six rebounds, while Turner tallied 14 points with eight boards.  Each added three steals. 

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