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Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball Sets Up Title Showdown at Brevard With Win Over C-N

SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba pulled away late from visiting Carson-Newman and posted a 71-65 win in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Wednesday night at Goodman Gym.  The Catawba Indians improve to 17-9 overall and 10-5 in the SAC, while the Eagles fall to 10-16 and 6-18 and 5-10.  The win sets up a winner-take-all championship game between Catawba and Brevard on Saturday afternoon at Brevard as both teams sit 10-5 in the league with all others suffering at least six losses. 

Catawba got 25 points from senior Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) and used a 20-10 edge on second-chance points to aid in the win.  Catawba shook off a slow shooting first half (32%, 10-of-31) and blocked a school-record 13 shots, including a record-tying seven by Donald Rutherford (Morganton, NC/Freedom HS).

After a quick start by Catawba, the Eagles erased a 10-2 deficit and took the lead at 17-16 on two free throws by Cameron Sharp (Knoxville, TN) at the 9:51 mark.  Carson-Newman extended the lead to eight at 31-23 and led 35-29 at the break. 

The Indians scored six straight points early in the second half to regain the lead at 40-39 on a layup by Donzell Williams (Salem, VA/Glenvar HS) with 14:11 left.  Jordan Dixon (Clinton, TN) gave the Eagles one last lead as he answered with a three-pointer, but Catawba went on top for good with 12:35 remaining on two free throws by Houston.

The Eagles trailed 51-50 after two free throws by Dixon with 7:26 to go then Houston nailed a three-pointer and Rutherford added a three-point play to give Catawba a 57-52 lead with 6:41 remaining.  Houston had a jumper and two free throws in a six-point run that pushed the lead to 63-54 with 3:10 left.

Catawba did enough at the line from there, making 6-of-8 in the final minute.  Catawba finished with a 46-38 edge on the boards and grabbed 18 on the offense glass.  The Tribe shot nearly 45% in the second half, while Carson-Newman hit on just 26.5% (9-of-34).

Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS) followed Houston with 13 points and freshman Stephen Coles (Danville, VA/Washington HS) also reached double-figures with 10 points.  Houston and Coles each grabbed eight rebounds.

Darren Maxtion (Huntsville, AL) led the Eagles with 19 points and added eight rebounds.  Dixon followed with 15 points, while Tray Okoth (Richmond, VA) tallied a dozen.  Sharp scored 10 points and dished out five assists.

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