Catawba survives tough battle at Mars Hill

Published 8:33 pm Saturday, January 28, 2017

Staff report

MARS HILL — Catawba got 24 points from K.J. Arrington and pulled out a 72-68 victory over Mars Hill in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon.

The Indians improve to 14-6 overall and 8-6 in the SAC, while the Lions fall to 4-16 and 2-12.

The Indians made enough plays down the stretch to hold off Mars Hill, who had jumped out to a 7-0 lead at the start of the game.

In a tight second half, Valentin Bauer tied the game for Mars Hill on a pair of free throws with 3:17 remaining. Arrington then put the Indians on top to stay with a three-point play at the 2:46 mark.

Collin Hartman brought Mars Hill to within one, but post player Troy Warren’s tip-in with 1:36 left put the Indians up, 69-66.

Bauer again cut the Catawba lead to a point and the Lions had a chance to take the lead after a turnover. However, Hartman’s driving shot was off the mark and Arrington took the rebound and made two free throws for a 71-68 edge with 12 seconds remaining.

The Lions then had another chance to tie, but Bauer’s three-pointer was off the mark and Arrington iced the game with a final free throw with four ticks on the clock.

Arrington led all scorers with his 24 points. He hit 8-of-15 shots with a pair of 3-pointers. Jameel Taylor went 7-of-11, with the other two 3-pointers for the Indians, in scoring 16 points. R.J. Robinson came off the bench to match his career-high of 11 points.

Vernon Jackson led Mars Hill with 18 points. Bauer collected a dozen points with Bennett Wilson scoring 10.

Both teams shot just over 40 percent from the floor, with Catawba holding a 44-35 edge on the boards. Half of Catawba’s rebounds were on the offensive end. The Indians also won despite 22 turnovers.

Catawba travels to Lenoir-Rhyne on Wednesday night for an 8 p.m. contest. Lenoir-Rhyne earned an overtime win in the first meeting.

CATAWBA (72) — Morrison 9, Warren 4, Arrington 24, Ingram 2, Taylor 16, Robinson 11, Sealey, Brown 6, McLaughlin, McGregor.

MARS HILL (68) — Jackson 18, Watkins 8, Hartman 4, Moore 5, Bauer 12, Wilson 10, Hartfield, Griffin, Wilkerson 2, Rotondo 5, Trimble 4, Clarke, Hylton.

Catawba             31     41  —  72

Mars Hill           35    33  — 68