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College Basketball: Catawba loses in OT

HICKORY — Catawba’s men’s basketball team has been praised by just about every coach in the SAC as one of the league’s more talented teams, but wins are proving elusive.
While many SAC teams were postponed by icy weather on Wednesday, Catawba was able to make the short trip to Lenoir-Rhyne and lost 78-73 in overtime. The game began two hours earlier than originally scheduled because of safety concerns.
Jumping off the stat sheet is Lenoir-Rhyne’s overwhelming edge at the free-throw line. The Bears were 35-for-45 at the stripe, while Catawba was 15-for-26. That’s a 20-point differential. That’s hard to make up.
Catawba was whistled for 35 personals, while L-R was called for 19. Kijuan Arrington, Tyrece Little and Reggie Perkins fouled out. Three other Indians finished the game with four personals.
In the overtime, L-R was 11-for-12 from the foul line, while Catawba was 0-for-0. L-R did not make a field goal the final 11 minutes of regulation and only one in overtime, but it paraded to the line 31 times in that span.
While the whistles had to rile Catawba supporters, it’s not like Catawba helped itself in some areas. Besides missing 11 free throws, Catawba was beaten on the boards 42-34, was beaten on offensive rebounds 16-8 and lost the turnover battle 17-13.
Catawba still made it a tight game throughout because it got lots of open 2s and made a very high percentage — a sizzling 62.5 percent in the first half and 50 percent in the second half.
L-R (9-8, 8-5) had great balance. Allan Jones (15), R.J. McClure (14), Rob Noyes (13) and Lawrence Miller (11) scored in double figures. Noyes had 13 rebounds.
Catawba got 17 points off the bench from Vismantas Marijosius, 14 from Elon Edwards and 11 from Tyrece Little. Little had eight rebounds. Julian Sampah and Jalen Byrd pulled down six each.
Catawba’s leading scorer — Arrington — was held to six points in 27 foul-plagued minutes.
The biggest margin by either team was the seven-point lead the Bears held in the final seconds of overtime. Lenoir-Rhyne led by as many as five in the first half and Catawba led by five late in regulation. The lead changed hands 15 times, with 12 ties.
A putback by Marijosius gave Catawba a 64-59 lead with 5:23 to go. L-R caught up when Noyes made a free throw with 43 seconds left. Arrington had a shot to win it for Catawba at the end of regulation, but his 3-pointer was just off the mark.
Sampah gave the Indians a 67-66 lead with two minutes left in overtime. McClure put the Bears on top to stay when he made the lone field goal for L-R in the extra session with 1:33 remaining.
L-R won despite shooting 37 percent from the field.
Catawba (5-12, 5-8) is in ninth place in the SAC, only eight teams qualify for the SAC tournament, and the Indians now are two games back in the loss column of Coker and Queens, the teams tied for seventh.
The good news is it’s a huge 12-team league, and Catawba still has nine SAC games left, including Saturday afternoon’s home game with Carson-Newman.
Catawba lost 62-60 at Carson-Newman on Dec. 7.

CATAWBA (73) — Marijosius 17, Edwards 14, Little 11, Warren 9, Sampah 7, Ingram 7, Arrington 6, Byrd 2, Perkins, Houston.
LENOIR-RHYNE (78) — Jones 15, Mclure 14, Noyes 13, Miller 11, Terrell 9, Fowles 7, Perry 6, Brown 3, Kunz.
Catawba 33 32 8 — 73
Lenoir-Rhyne 35 30 13 — 78

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