December 15, 2003
Cold shooting again costs Men's Basketball in loss to USC-Aiken
SALISBURY, NC – USC-Aiken shot 74% in the second half and rallied for a 90-79 win over host Catawba in men’s basketball action on Monday night at Goodman Gym. The Pacers had three players with 20 or more points in the win and improve to 4-3, while Catawba falls to 5-7.
Curt Triplin (Hopkins, SC) and Minda Strakus (Mazeikai, LITHUANIA) each had double-doubles to lead Aiken. Triplin had a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Strakus added 20 points and 12 boards. Lee Burton (Clearwater, FL) also had 20 points in the win. Catawba was led by Duke Phipps (Newport News, VA), who had 21 points, and Jolly Manning (Rocky Mount, NC), who tossed in a career-high 18 points.
Catawba used a 7-0 run late in the first half to grab a 29-22 lead at the 5:09 mark and took a 37-30 lead to the break. Despite shooting just 33%, the Indians held a lead thanks to good work on the boards. The Indians had a 12-0 edge in second chance points, holding USCA to just one offensive rebound and held a 24-14 margin for the half.
Aiken would make its run early in the first half. Down 46-38 with 17 minutes to play, the Pacers scored nine straight points to take the lead. Triplin capped the run with consecutive three pointers to give the visitors a 47-46 edge with 13:27 remaining.
Catawba would hold a one-point lead twice after that, the last at 50-49 after a jumper by Marcus Reddick (Salisbury, NC) with 12:33 left. Strakus would hit a layup and three-pointer, surrounding a three-pointer by Martynas Valaitis (Silute, LITHUANIA), to give Aiken a 57-50 lead with 10:58 remaining.
Manning brought Catawba within five at 67-62 on a jumper with 5:16 left, but the Pacers scored six straight, including another three by Triplin to begin to pull away. Aiken hit on 13 of 20 free throw attempts in the final three minutes.
While Aiken was shooting 58% for the game, Catawba managed just 33%. Aiken would battled back on the boards and finished with a 41-39 edge. The Pacers were 33-of-47 at the line, while Catawba connected on 28 of 42 attempts.