Basketball (M)

Second Half Drought Sends Men's Basketball to Defeat at CN


JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. -- Carson-Newman canned 37-of-45 free throws and held off a feverish last-minute Catawba rally to claim a 91-88 victory in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Holt Fieldhouse.  The Eagles improve to 13-9 overall and 9-7 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 10-12 and 8-8.

The Indians trailed 86-73 into the final minute before three-pointers from Jordan Barber (Matthews, N.C./Weddington) and Rakeen Brown (Hampton, Va./Bethel/Delaware St.) cut the deficit to seven.  After a pair of C-N free throws, Jerrin Morrison (Charlotte, N.C./E. Mecklenburg) sank back-to-back triples and suddenly it was 88-85 with 14 seconds remaining.

Carson-Newman would do enough at the line to hold on, making 3-of-6 in the final 12 seconds.  Brown cut it to 90-88 with two seconds remaining and Sawyer Williams hit a free throw for the Eagles with one second to go.  Brown's last second attempt to tie was off the mark.

Morrison led Catawba with 21 points.  Jameel Taylor (Anderson, S.C./Hanna) followed with 19 and Brown scored a dozen.  Catawba shot 53% in the first half, but only 35% in the second half which was buoyed by canning five of its last seven.

All five starters reached double figures for Carson-Newman.  Williams tallied 21 with Charles Clark and Mason Bates each adding 19.  Clark was a perfect 10-for-10 at the line and added seven rebounds.  The Eagles won the battle on the boards 34-25.

Catawba trailed for the early part of the first half before using an 11-2 run to go up 39-35 with 2:10 remaining in the opening stanza.  The Indians took a 47-42 edge to the break and pushed the edge to eight in the first three minutes of the second half.

When Taylor sank a three with 16:06 remaining, Catawba led 58-53, but would not hit another field goal for five and half minutes.  During that span, the Eagles went on a 12-1 run to lead 65-60.  After a three-pointer by Ben Sealey (Hampton, Va./Menchville/Va. Intermont) ended that drought, Catawba suffered through another four and half minute stretch without a basket.  That allowed C-N to push its lead to 73-63 with 6:20 left.

Catawba saw its three-game winning streak snapped and the loss dealt a blow for hopes of a top four finish.  The Indians face games against the top four in the league over the final three weeks with three of those on the road.  One of those games comes on Wednesday as Catawba travels to Newberry for an 8 pm tip-off.

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