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Men’s college basketball: Marijosius sparks Catawba’s revenge win

SALISBURY — The low point of Catawba’s men’s basketball season came Jan. 3 when the Indians were embarrassed 92-63 at Anderson.

“They annihilated us,” Catawba coach Rob Perron said. “That’s the only game against a Division II opponent where we got blown out. They beat us every way you can be beat.”

Opportunity for redemption came Saturday, and the Indians responded. They beat Anderson 60-57 in a thriller that wasn’t decided until Anderson’s Maurice Howard missed a heavily contested 3-pointer from deep in the right corner as time expired.

“We caught some breaks and had some luck,” Perron said. “But we were due some.”

Catawba (12-12, 9-9 SAC) got even, in the overall and SAC standings —  as well as with Anderson.  Anderson had beaten Catawba nine straight times.

“They beat us badly down there,” Catawba junior Vismantas Marijosius said. “We had motivation. This one was personal.”

Catawba claimed its third straight victory. At the forefront of the wining effort were Marijosius (15 points) and Jameel Taylor (14).

Jerrin Morrison had 13 of his 15 points in the first half, and his gravity-defying jumpers and a lot of team defense pushed the Indians to a 32-23 halftime lead.

Marijosius had a non-factor first half. Ten minutes. One shot. One airball. No rebounds.

“It was like his feet were in cinder blocks,” Perron said with a laugh. “Some guys are done after a half like that, but he’s a mature player, a mentally tough player, and he made a comeback in the same game.”

Marijosius was terrific in the second half, 4-for-5 from the field and 6-for-7 from the foul line, plus several heavy-traffic rebounds after the game got physical.

When Marijoisus hit a 3-pointer with 16:36 left to play, the Indians led 41-27, but Anderson made a furious 13-0 run fueled by defensive intensity. Perron used timeouts, but Catawba’s lead quickly went from 14 to one.

“They started pressing, and we weren’t ready for it,” Marijosius said.

A three-point play by Howard put Anderson on top 55-54 with 5:21 left, and Catawba trailed 57-54 as the clock ticked under three minutes.

But the Indians finished strong. Morrison made two free throws. Then Marijosius made two for a 58-57 lead.

Anderson big man Chris Ross was fouled with 14 seconds left, but he missed both free throws, and Marijosius came down with the critical rebound as he was fouled.

His first free throw with 12 seconds left was nerve-wracking. It bounced left, then rolled right, then dropped in. Anderson called timeout before Marijosius’ second free throw, but he swished it for a three-point lead.

“I shot with confidence,” he said. “Even the first one — I knew it was going in.”

ANDERSON (57): Fields 12, Ross 11, Jones 10, Howard 9, Jackson 5, McClain 2, McGowan 2, Taylor 2, Adekambi 2, Faust 2.

CATAWBA (60): Marijosius 15, Morrison 15, Taylor 14, Arrington 8, Sealey 3, Ingram 2, Warren 2, Sampah 1, Perkins.

Anderson 23    34 — 57

Catawba    32    28 — 60

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