Basketball (M)

Constantine and Morrison Push Men's Basketball Past Tusculum

17_MBB_MorrisonJerrinAU

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Catawba scored a season-high 99 points and rallied in the second half for a 99-97 win over host Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena. The Catawba Indians improve to 6-12 overall and 3-10 in the SAC, while the Pioneers fall to 5-15 and 3-10.

Malik Constantine and Jerrin Morrison combined for over half of points for Catawba. Constantine led the way with 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting and was key at the line, making eight of his nine attempts. Morrison tossed in 25 points, making 10-of-20 shots with three 3-pointers. The duo had 31 points after the break when Catawba trailed 58-51.

The Indians trailed 94-89 with just over two minutes left when RJ Robinson’s jumper cut the margin to three. After a TC miss, Morrison drained a three-pointer to tie the contest with 1:44 to go. Peyton Woods hit the second of two free throws for a one-point Pioneers lead then Constantine followed his own miss to give the Indians a 96-95 lead with 1:04 left.

Tusculum missed a three-pointer and Constantine put Catawba up 98-95. Baylark trimmed the lead to a point before Constantine hit the first of two throws with 15 seconds to go for the 99-97 lead. The Pioneers had a shot to tie, but Donovan Donaldson missed a driving layup in the final seconds and McLaughlin cleared the miss.

Donaldson followed Peeler with 22 points for Tusculum. Woods canned 17 with Zach Hartle grabbing a dozen rebounds.

Catawba had led much of the first half, holding a 19-10 edge early. The Pioneers went on top 25-24 midway through the half and pushed the margin to as many as nine. Tusculum shot 61% in the first half and went 8-of-13 behind the arc. Zailan Peeler had all six of his three-pointers for the Pioneers in the first half as he scored 21 points. The Indians limited him to just two in the final 20 minutes.

Tusculum went up by a dozen early in the second half before Catawba started chipping away. An 8-0 run was capped by a layup and dunk by McLaughlin to make it 66-62 with 15:14 remaining. Morrison’s layup cut it to three before he tied it on the next Indian possession with a three-pointer at the 13:53 mark to knot the game at 66-all. The game was tied four more times before the Pioneers crept back on top 85-80 on a three-pointer by Ronnie Baylark with 6:58 to go.

The Indians hit on 54% in the first half, but while the Pioneers cooled off Catawba made 60% in half number two. Tusculum hit on 41% and were just 3-of-13 from long range. The Pioneers also went from canning 12-of-13 at the line in the opening frame, but only 8-of-15 in the second half.

Catawba heads to Wingate on Wednesday for an 8 pm tip off against the Bulldogs.

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