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Basketball (M)

Magical Tourney Run Ends For Men's Basketball After Four Straight Finals

HICKORY, NC -- Seventh-seeded Catawba put up a valiant effort in an attempt to make an unprecedented fifth-straight South Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament final, but in the end third-seeded Wingate pulled out a 65-60 victory on Saturday night at the CVCC Multipurpose Arena.  Wingate improves to 19-9 and advances to face top-seeded Lincoln Memorial in Sunday’s final.  The Catawba Indians end their season at 13-15.

Dominick Reid (Charlotte, NC/Cannon School) scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half to help Catawba hold a pair of slim leads down the stretch.  He became the all-time scoring leader for the tournament in the loss, scoring 176 points in 11 games.  The senior made just 1-of-7 from behind the arc and dished out seven assists.  Lee Martin (Mt. Airy, NC/N. Surry HS/Hargrave) and Justin Huntley (Mooresville, NC/Mooresville HS) joined Reid in double figures with 11 points apiece.

Catawba hit only 7-of-24 (29%) in the opening half in falling behind 29-21.  Wingate went up 17-8 midway through the half, but Catawba rallied and pulled even at 19-all on consecutive three-pointers by Martin with 5:50 to go before the break.  Wingate scored six straight points, including a pair of baskets by Quan Alexander, to pull back ahead before the half.

Alexander gave the Bulldogs a 42-35 lead with 13:16 remaining before Catawba rallied back.  Keon Moore (Colerain, NC/Bertie HS) hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to four and when Martin added two free throws with 10:39 to go the Indians were within 44-43.

Reid hit a jumper at the 10:20 mark to give Catawba its first lead at 46-45 and Kelvin Drakeford (Charlotte, NC/Cannon School/Barton) gave the Indians their last advantage with a pair from the stripe with 8:12 remaining.  Reid tied the game one last time on his lone three-pointer with 5:49 remaining.

Wingate got a pair of buckets from Paidrick Matilus to move ahead 60-55 with 2:07 left.  Martin got Catawba within a basket on a three-pointer and Reid cut the margin to 62-60 on a pair of free throws with 1:15 remaining.  The teams traded turnovers before Ethan Kincaid made one of two free throws with 23 seconds to go.  Moore missed a tying three-point attempt and Jaime Vaughn iced the game from the line with nine seconds left.

Alexander led all scorers with 23 points, scoring 11 in the opening half.  Vaughn, Matilus and Odell Turner each added a dozen points for the Bulldogs with Turner pulling down nine boards. 

Wingate hit on 64% in the second half and shot 55% for the game.  Catawba improved to 48% in the final half, but made just 7-of-18 behind the arc.  Both teams committed 14 turnovers, while the Bulldogs held a 34-28 edge on the boards.

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