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Basketball (M)

Late Basket Spoils Epic Rally by Men's Basketball in Tournament Final Loss

HICKORY, NC -- Brevard knocked off top-seeded Catawba 93-92 in dramatic fashion in the South Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game on Sunday afternoon at CVCC Arena.  The Tornados earn the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA II Southeast Regional Tournament, while the Catawba Indians will await an at-large bid.  Brevard improves to 21-9 and claims its first-ever league title in any sport.  Catawba, now 20-10, claimed the SAC Championship last weekend with a win over Brevard and entered the week as the region’s #4-rated team.

Brevard scored the winning points on a driving layup by Jermichael Tanner with 2.1 seconds left, while Dominick Reid’s (Charlotte, NC/Cannon School) desperation shot from 60 feet bounced off the back rim.  The loss dampened a rally for the ages by Catawba, which may be more remembered than the win by Brevard.

The Indians trailed by 16 after a free throw by Sam Carlisle with 3:49 left then roared back to take the lead in the final 10 seconds.  Reid started the run on a three-pointer with 3:40 to go.  When Jonathan Whitson converted the second of two free throws, Brevard still led 86-73 with 2:41 remaining.

Rob Fields (Orangeburg, SC/Orangeburg-Wilkerson HS) hit two free throws and converted a three-point play following a steal to trim the deficit to 86-78 with 2:21 left.  Fields and Antonio Houston (Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS) added two free throws around one by Whitson to pull the Tribe within 87-82 at the 1:14 mark.  A layup by Stephen Coles (Danville, NC/Washington HS) following a turnover cut the margin to 87-84 with 1:10 remaining.

Darin Dellinger hit one free throw before a Fields layup made it 88-86 with 50 seconds to go.  Tanner and Fields each made a free throw to keep Brevard up by two then Donald Hudson hit a pair from the stripe as Brevard went up 91-87.  Reid connected on a three-pointer with 22 seconds remaining then converted a short jumper after a steal with eight seconds left to give the Indians their first lead of the game at 92-91 to set up Tanner’s winning shot.

Reid led Catawba with 24 points, while Donald Rutherford (Morganton, NC/Freedom HS) posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.  Fields picked up 15 points with Houston and Donzell Williams (Salem, VA/Glenvar HS) following with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Whitson, the tournament MVP, recorded a double-double for the Tornados with 20 points and 12 rebounds.  Josh Roper scored 24 points and had four assists.  Dellinger added 18 points, while Sam Carlisle totaled 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds.  Roper joined Whitson on the all-tournament team as did Rutherford and Houston for Catawba.  Desmond Johnson, of Lincoln Memorial, rounded out the squad.

Brevard led from the outset, scoring the game’s first seven points.  Catawba missed on its first nine shot attempts before Reid canned a three-pointer at the 15:33 mark to reduce the early deficit to 15-7.  The Indians pulled within two midway through the half, but Brevard held a 44-38 lead at the break.

Rutherford pulled Catawba within 54-50 on a three-pointer with 15:15 remaining, but the Tornados scored the next nine points and built their edge to 74-55 with 9:53 to play.  The Indians rallied to within ten at 76-66 with 6:21 to go only to see Brevard stretch the lead back to 16 before Catawba made its stirring comeback.

Catawba shot only 38.5% in the contest while Brevard hit on 50%.  Brevard held a 45-43 advantage on the boards, but Catawba had the edge 18-10 on the offensive glass.  The Indians also forced Brevard into 21 turnovers.  Houston’s 11 points moved him past Bill Bailey and into second place on the Tribe’s all-time scoring list.

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