College Basketball: Lenoir-Rhyne 61, Catawba 58
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — It’s a different kind of heartache for Catawba every night in the South Atlantic Conference circuit.
At this point, they may need a defibrillator.
The Indians led in the final minute once again against Lenoir-Rhyne and saw it bounce away in a 61-58 defeat at Goodman Gym to the Bears. It was the fourth time Catawba led in the last 60 seconds only to come up short.
B.J. Beasley converted a 3-point play with 30.9 seconds left for LR and Catawba turned it over twice in its final two possessions. The Indians fell for the ninth time in 10 contests.
“It’s always a hump we don’t seem to get over,” Catawba’s Keon Moore said. “It always come back to bite us.”
After absorbing a 70-69 defeat at Tusculum Saturday, it looked like the Indians’ fortunes might turn on Moore’s putback with 1:16 left to put them up 58-56. Tyrece Little got his fifth block of the night on the next possession to give Catawba (4-11, 1-6) the ball with under a minute to play.
However, freshman guard Willie Gilmore dribbled the ball off his foot and watched it bounce into the backcourt for a violation with 40 seconds left to give the Bears hope. Beasley answered with a short jumper in the paint while being fouled by Moore.
“We’re not good enough right now to overcome a lot of adversity,” Catawba coach Jim Baker said. “That’s the fourth one we’ve led in the last minute. It’s been various ways that it happens.”
Cameron Lovelace’s 3-point attempt rimmed out with 9.3 seconds left and Beasley grabbed the rebound and headed to the foul line. His first free throw missed and went off Catawba before going out of bounds with 7.5 ticks left.
“We’ve had some fluky stuff like that happen,” Baker said. “I put Lee Martin in there in case we needed a 3 and we missed the rebound.”
D. J. Blackmon made both free throws on a 1-and-1 situation to end the scoring. Gilmore, who led all scorers with 14 points, couldn’t gain space and lost possession on the final play.
LR (8-8, 4-3) won its fourth consecutive conference game after starting out 0-3 in the league. Blackmon and Allan Jones each scored 13 points to lead the Bears.
“I don’t think either team played really well,” LR coach John Lentz said. “We did just enough to win.”
Catawba finished with 17 turnovers and saw LR claim 26 points off them, crucial in a game with seven ties and seven lead changes.
Lovelace swished two 3s and had 11 points. Justin Huntley scored 10 and came up with a steal. Little, a freshman, came up with eight rebounds to go with his five blocks.
Catawba led 26-18 with a little over five minutes left in the first half until LR went on a 15-0 run to gain a 33-26 advantage. Gilmore’s layup right before halftime made it 33-30 at the break.
Lovelace’s trey and Huntley’s layup gave Catawba back the lead at 35-34. LR led by as much as 45-37 in the second half. Gilmore canned a 3 for the Indians to regain the lead at 50-49 with 7:32 left. Lovelace’s second trey made it 54-51 Catawba until Kevin Davis answered with a 3 to tie it again.
Moore, Catawba’s leading scorer, settled for nine points on 3 of 8 shooting.
“It’s going to be a brighter day,” Moore said. “It’s a young team with heads all over the place, but we’re going to get it together.”
LENOIR-RHYNE (61) — Blackmon 13, Jones 13, Kunz 12, Davis 9, Beasley 8, McClintock 6, Hathcock, Brown, Thomas, Hawkins.
CATAWBA (58) — Gilmore 14, Lovelace 11, Huntley 10, Moore 9, Little 6, Thomson 3, Martin 3, Drakeford 2, Tyree.
L-Rhyne 33 28 — 61
Catawba 30 28 — 58