Basketball (M)

Men's Basketball Survives at Mars Hill


MARS HILL, NC -- Catawba escaped Stanford Arena with an 88-87 win over Mars Hill in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Wednesday night when the Lions missed on a three-pointer at the buzzer.  The Catawba Indians improve to 8-15 overall and 5-10 in the SAC, while Mars Hill falls to 3-20 and 0-15.

The Indians led by five with a minute to play only to see Mars Hill reel off four straight points to pull within 88-87 with 20 seconds remaining.  Nick Houston (China Grove, NC/Carson HS) missed a free throw with 10 seconds to go to set up a final chance for the Lions.  Khouraichi Thiam was off the mark and the horn sounded as Tyrece Little (Greenville, NC/Rose HS) grabbed the rebound.

Little was one of two Catawba players to post double-doubles with 24 points and 11 boards.  Freshman Vismantas Marijosius (Kedainiai, LITHUANIA/North Hills Christian) had a career-day for the Indians with 18 points and 17 rebounds.  Houston and Elon Edwards (Greenville, NC/Rose HS) also reached double figures in scoring for the Tribe, each tossing in 16 points.

James Fields led Mars Hill with 23 points, hitting on 9-of-11 shots, including a trio of three-pointers.  Kacey Holt posted 17 points, while Thiam had 14 points and 14 rebounds.  Will White also reached double figures with 11 markers.

The game was back-and-forth early until Catawba got back-to-back dunks from Little to go on top 20-18 with 11:07 left in the opening half.  The Indians would never trail after that.  Mars Hill pulled even at 34-all, but Catawba closed the half on a 13-4 run to lead 47-38 at the break.

Catawba increased its lead to double digits as Houston scored the opening basket of the half and the Indians went on to build several 14 point leads.  The last came following another dunk by Little with 11:32 left that had Catawba ahead 68-54. 

Fields had five straight points for Mars Hill as the hosts cut the margin to 73-70 with 7:56 to go.  Houston answered with a pair of three-pointers to push Catawba back on top 81-72 at the 6:01 mark.  Mars Hill clawed back at the end, but came up a point short.

The Indians shot 61% (17-of-28) in the second half and finished at 54% for the game.  The duo of Little and Marijosius hit on 18-of-28 shots.  Catawba held a 43-36 edge on the boards and got eight assists from Edwards.

Catawba next hosts Newberry on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

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