College basketball: Catawba puts six in double figures

Published 11:19 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

By Mike London

CENTRAL, S.C. — The Catawba’s men’s basketball team had its hands full for a half with Southern Wesleyan, but the Indians took care of business against the underdog Warriors after the break.

“Depth can be devastating and we have some strength in numbers,” Catawba coach Rob Perron said. “We were able to wear them down.”

Catawba won going away, 92-71, bumping its season record to 10-2. Southern Wesleyan is 0-7 against South Atlantic Conference clubs and fell to 2-11.

Catawba had four dunks and put six men in double figures with Jordan McElveen and Jameel Taylor scoring 15 points each. Daquan Lilly and Devin Cooper had 14 apiece. Marcell Haskett scored 12, while Ben Zemonek added 10.

Lilly and McElveen led Catawba’s rebounding with seven each.

Catawba struggled to get any separation in the first half. Cooper made a 3-pointer for the Indians to break a 22-all tie, and the Indians didn’t trail after that.

Catawba managed to get to halftime with a 44-39 lead.

“Southern Wesleyan was patient in the first half and was running a Princeton style of offense with a lot of backdoor cuts,” Perron said. “They were executing their stuff really well and they were shooting the ball from the 3-point line very well.”

Catawba was able to apply more consistent defensive pressure in the second half and used some 1-3-1 zone to disrupt Southern Wesleyan’s offense.  Haskett led the defensive charge for the Indians.

“We made some adjustments at halftime, and Haskett, in particular, defended very well,” Perron said. “He’s known as a shooter, but he’s become a three-tool guy for us who can also defend and distribute.”

Catawba was able to move out to a double-digit lead in the early stages of the second half. Lilly threw down a monstrous dunk after taking a feed from Zemonek with 9:26 left for a 15-point lead.

“We had some solid interior passing from our big guys tonight, something you don’t see all that much anymore, and that big dunk by Lilly kind of broke their spirits,” Perron said. “Our bench went a little crazy.”

Christian McLean led Southern Wesleyan with 17 points.

Catawba shot well on 3-pointers (9-for-19) and the free throw line (17-for-22) and finished at 48.5 percent from the field. McElveen was 5-for-6 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the foul line.

After two non-conference victories this week, Catawba returns to SAC play on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Carson-Newman (8-4, 1-4).

“We’ll be ready,” Perron said.

Carson-Newman has beaten Coker but has dropped league games against Lincoln Memorial, Wingate, Lenoir-Rhyne and Mars Hill. Catawba is 3-1 in the league, losing at Wingate in its most recent conference outing after beating Newberry, Tusculum and Mars Hill.

CATAWBA (92) — McElveen 15, Taylor 15, Lilly 14, Cooper 14, Haskett 12, Zemonek 10, Constantine 8, McLaughlin 2, Cannon 2, Robinson, Barber, Johnson, Whitfield.

SOUTHERN WESLEYAN (71) — McLean 17, Lowery 13, Wert 10, Poore 8, Hunter 8, Richards 6, Smith 5, Ford 4.

Catawba            44    48    — 92

S. Wesleyan      39    32    — 71