Basketball (M)

Indians Sweep Season Series Against Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, TENN. – Rarely does free-throw shooting factor into the outcome of a 17-point game but a perfect night at the line snapped a three-game losing streak by Catawba men’s basketball.

Devin Cooper, who led the record-setting night for the Indians, dominated at the charity stripe for the win over Tusculum at 72-55, at Pioneer Arena. Cooper went 13-for-13 at the line as Catawba improved to 14-5 overall and 7-4 in league play, while the Pioneers fell to 9-10 and 5-6.

As a team, the Indians drained all 28 free throws, which is the third most in NCAA Division II history. Previously, Dowling converted 31-of-31 in 1985 and West Georgia made all 30 in 1976. Catawba’s 28 matched Glenville St. (Dec. 2005) and Florida Tech (Jan. 2017).

Saturday’s performance broke the school mark of 15-for-15, which the Indians established in a 94-76 win over Belmont Abbey Dec. 30, 2008. Lenoir-Rhyne held the conference record registering a 17-for-17 game against Carson-Newman during the 1995-96 campaign.

Cooper end one free throw shy of the individual school record for a single game. Dwight Durante, Mike Feller and Helgi Magnusson hold the record at 14-of-14.

Catawba closed out the first half with a 23-11 run, providing the Indians with a comfortable 34-19 halftime advantage. They outscored the Pioneers by two in the final 20 minutes, preventing Tusculum’s ability to cut the lead to single digits. The closest they got was 41-31 with 13:38 remaining.

Cooper finished with 17 points, while Jordan McElveen added 13 points. Malik Constantine tallied 11 and Daquan Lilly narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Jameel Taylor led the team with six assists.

Tusculum’s Trenton Gibson tallied a game-high 18 points and Donovan Donaldson poured in 11.

Inside the Numbers:
- The teams combined for 45 personal fouls with Catawba whistled for 23.
- Catawba held Tusculum to 25.0 percent (15-of-60) from the field, including 9.1 percent (2-of-11) from 3-point range.
- The Indians registered 12 assists on 19 baskets, while the Pioneers recorded four on 15 shots.
- This is the fourth consecutive win in the series for Catawba.
- Catawba’s win snapped Tusculum’s four-game home winning streak.

Next Up:
The Indians begin a two-game homestand Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Newberry.

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