Brevard 80, Catawba 75
By Mike London
When Catawba freshman Keon Moore hit a 3-pointer with 8:13 remaining, fans at Goodman Gym didn’t know whether to applaud or pass out.
Moore’s successful 3 was the first of the evening for the Indians, who suffered through a brutal shooting night, especially from long range, in an 80-75 SAC loss to Brevard.
Catawba (5-8, 1-4) made a spirited charge in the final 10 minutes, but it had dug too deep a hole in the first 30 to climb all the way back
Former Pfeiffer guard Josh Roper and former Carson High hero Darius Moose enjoyed rousing homecomings. Roper poured in 27 points for the Tornados (6-3, 4-1), while Moose grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Moore scored 22 for the Indians, most in that late surge. Junior slasher Justin Huntley added 17, primarily on 11-for-12 foul shooting. Soph Lee Martin had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“We’re struggling to score, struggling to get into any kind of offense,” coach Jim Baker said. “It looks like we’re dying a slow death.”
Catawba’s struggles can be traced to the absence of senior point guard Dominick Reid, who ran the show and made 3s before suffering a concussion last week against Wingate.
Reid is still out and also will miss Saturday’s home game against Tusculum.
“Dominick has passed his computerized concussion test, but he still has to sit out seven more days by the new rule,” Baker explained.
Roper buried Catawba with 20 first-half points, scoring on 3s, scoops, fadeaway bank shots and one remarkable reverse layup.
“Huntley is a good defender and very long, but I’ve worked very hard at making myself unguardable by any one person,” Roper said. “My goal is to make the whole team have to guard me.”
Catawba trailed 31-21 with 2:49 left in the half after Huntley made two free throws, but Roper drilled eight quick points to put Catawba in a 39-24 hole at halftime.
The Indians were lucky to be that close. They’d shot 27 percent from the floor, and Moose was cleaning the glass.
Thing got worse in the second half for Catawba before they got better. When Ryson Felder drilled a left-wing 3 for the Tornados with 11:42 left to play, it was 56-36 and some fans headed for the exits.
But Catawba didn’t go quietly. A flying slam by Stuart Thomson off a pass from Huntley cut Brevard’s lead to 14 with 8:35 left and lit a fire.
“I hoped that dunk would give us energy, and we did make a good run,” Thomson said. “We just didn’t finish strong enough on a few plays.”
Freshman Chris Tyree’s 3-pointer with 6:13 left trimmed Brevard’s lead to eight points, and back-to-back drives by Huntley sliced the deficit to 64-60 with five minutes left.
When Moore soared for a stickback with 4:23 remaining, it was 65-62, and a gym that had been quiet was buzzing.
“Catawba’s just too well-coached not to make a run, they’re used to playing uptempo, and we played right into their hands with some sloppy ballhandling and missed free throws,” Brevard coach Michael Jones said.
Huntley kept Roper bottled up for about 10 minutes, but Drew Schauss’ clutch 3-pointer from the left wing pushed the Tornados’ lead back to six points with four minutes left.
It still got very interesting at the end when Moore bounced in a 3 off the front rim, then accidentally banked in a 25-footer for three more. That made it 78-75 with five seconds left.
Brevard’s Gaither Hendrix missed two free throws with four ticks remaining, but Catawba couldn’t corral the rebound. The ball caromed to Hendrix, and this time he made two free ones to seal it.
Catawba finished 4-for-24 on 3-pointers and shot 31.6 percent for the game.
“We made a nice comeback and we’re rebounding better,” Baker said. “We’re close, but we don’t have enough experience out there right now to have a good feel for winning.”
BREVARD (80) — Roper 27, Schauss 11, Hendrix 11, Moose 7, J. Jordan 7, Tanner 7, D. Jordan 4, Felder 3, Dombrowski 3.
CATAWBA (75) — Moore 22, Huntley 17, Thomson 11, Martin 10, Mayo 7, Drakeford 5, Tyree 3, Shoemaker, Lovelace.
Brevard 39 41 — 80
Catawba 24 51 — 75