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Catawba men: Indians shoot 57 percent in road win

Staff report

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — Catawba’s Malik Constantine has been a bundle of potential for a while.

Recurring injuries knocked him back for a long time, but now the highly anticipated breakout is in full swing. Constantine, a 6-f0ot-6 athlete from Charlotte who can score inside and out, had 19 points in Wednesday’s overtime loss to Queens. On Saturday, he sparked Catawba’s 99-97 win at Tusculum with 27 points, including the Indians’ last five.

Catawba (6-12, 3-10 South Atlantic Conference) overcame a 12-point deficit in the second half. The Indians gained a split in the season series while Tusculum (5-15, 3-10 SAC) suffered its fourth straight loss.

Tusculum freshman Zailan Peeler finished with a season-best 23 points while junior Donovan Donaldson poured in 22 points with five assists.  TC also got 17 points from junior Peyton Woods, a Division I transfer who killed the Indians when the teams played in Salisbury.

Tusculum led 94-89 with 2:25 remaining, but Catawba got a jumper from R.J. Robinson and a Jerrin Morrison 3-pointer to tie it.  Constantine’s tip-in with 64 seconds left gave the Indians the lead for the first time in the second half.

Constantine made a layup with 32 seconds remaining to give the Indians a 98-95 lead.  TC’s Ronnie Baylark made a layup with 22 seconds to bring TC to within one.  Constantine was fouled with 15 seconds left. He made the first free throw, but missed the second.

After a TC timeout with 8.7 seconds left, Tusculum got the ball to Donaldson who drove down the right side, but his layup with three seconds on the clock rolled off the back of the iron and was grabbed by Catawba’s Jeremy McLaughlin to seal the victory.

Constantine scored nine straight Catawba points in the first half.

Catawba vaulted out to a 19-10 lead in the first half sparked by seven straight points from Constantine, including a three-point play and a fast-break dunk.

Catawba shot 57 percent from the floor and 60 percent in the second half.  Constantine went 9-of-12 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. He also finished with six rebounds and three assists.  Morrison scored 25 and made three 3-pointers.

In the last 44 meetings between Tusculum and Catawba, 22 have been decided by five points or fewer.

CATAWBA (99) —  Constantine 27, Morrison 25, Johnson 9, Barber 9,  McLaughlin 9, Robinson 7, Phillips 6, Lentz 3, Jeffers 2, Cannon 2, Childress.

TUSCULUM (97) —  Peeler 23, Donaldson 22, Woods 17, Baylark 11,  Smallwood 8, Hartle 5,  Smith 4, Hodnett 4, Davis 3.

Catawba            51   48     — 99

Tusculum        58   39   —   97

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