February 8, 2003
Men's Basketball falls on late basket
SALISBURY, NC – Lenoir-Rhyne junior Ryan Pitts (Baltimore, MD) scored on a put-back with six seconds to play to give the Bears a 79-77 win over host Catawba in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Goodman Gym. Pitts grabbed a rebound off a miss by Rashad Price (Charlotte, NC) to break the deadlock after Catawba had rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes. Lenoir-Rhyne improves to 15-5 overall and 6-2 in the SAC and gave coach John Lentz his 300th career coaching win. Catawba falls to 7-14 and 2-6.
The Bears led 43-40 at the half and would increase their edge to a dozen at 66-54 with 8:50 to play. Junior Duke Phipps (Newport News, VA) would start the Tribe comeback after a double technical was called that resulted in a foul-out for the Tribe’s Helgi Magnusson (Reykjavik, ICELAND), who had 16 points at the time.
Phipps hit a free throw and a layup to trim the deficit to 71-65 with 4:14 left. A follow basket by Jolly Manning (Rocky Mount, NC) cut the margin to 71-67 and another layin by Phipps brought Catawba within 71-69 with 3:20 to play. A layup by Pitts and two free throws by Price returned the Bear lead to 75-50, but Brian Carter (Alexandria, VA) hit a jumper and Kevin Petty (Sanford, NC) drained a three pointer to knot the score at 75-75 with 1:52 remaining.
Price hit two free throws for Lenoir-Rhyne with 43 seconds left, but Carter answered with a jumper with 26 seconds remaining to tie the score at 77-77 and set up Pitts’ heroics. The teams had battled through a tight opening 10 minutes before the Bears bolted to a 10-point lead with five minutes left. Catawba then rallied back before the half to trail by three.
Roman Davis (Walnut Grove, NC) led Lenoir-Rhyne with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Tony Connelly (Charlotte, NC) added 17. Carter led Catawba with 19 points, while Magnusson had his 16 and Phipps added a dozen.