College basketball: Quick shots lead to lopsided loss for Indians
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Wingate was missing two 6-foot-8 players when the Bulldogs made the trip to Catawba on Saturday.
Wingate played no one taller than 6-foot-5, but it still had its way with the Indians at Goodman Gym.
Three guards and two small forwards took it to the Indians for a 103-84 South Atlantic Conference victory. There were plenty of mismatches on the floor, but the Bulldogs (1-2) did a better job of exploiting them than the Indians. Quickness trumped size.
‘We did a nice job in our opener (a double-digit win) against Anderson of using our size and making smaller people try to shoot over us,” Catawba head coach Rob Perron said. “But today was the worst defensive performance we’ve had since I’ve been here. Yes, Wingate made a lot of shots, but we didn’t keep our man in front of us. And when we over-helped, they made us pay.”
Most of that payment was collected at the 3-point line. Wingate, which had lost earlier to Carson-Newman and Tusculum, was deadly from the bonus line, 8-for-14 in the first half and 18-for-36 for the game. That’s 50 percent. And shooting 50 percent on 3s makes the same impact on the scoreboard as shooting 75 percent on 2-pointers.
Jarren Cottingham, a product of Hickory Ridge High in Harrisburg, scored from all angles and piled up 29 points for the visitors.
“Jarren is an all-round kid who can shoot or drive,” Catawba veteran Terrence Whitfield said. “He got hot. And when he gets on, he’s on.”
Catawba led for a grand total of 10 seconds — 2-0 — when Whitfield, who scored 23 points, got to the rim early.
Miguel Priest answered with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs off a Cottingham assist, and the Indians (1-1) never got even again.
“We came out hard, but a lot of little things that we didn’t do added up,” Whitfield said. “Wingate wanted it more.”
Catawba got 12 more field-goal attempts in the first half than Wingate did, mostly due to an 11-4 edge in offensive rebounds and a 13-9 advantage in the turnover battle. But Wingate shot with so much efficiency that the Indians were down 50-43 at the half.
Carter Phillips had a terrific half off the bench for Catawba, knocking down all four of his shots to keep the Indians within striking distance, but, collectively, Catawba had hoisted 23 3-pointers by intermission, most of them contested, and had only made seven.
“We took a lot of quick 3s early and that gets you in trouble in so many ways,” Perron said. “Shooting without anyone in rebounding position led to easy transition points for Wingate. And when you shoot too quick, you don’t make their defense work, you don’t draw any fouls. There are a lot of negatives to shooting quick.”
Catawba played its best in the opening minutes of the second half. Lloyd Hemming made two buckets, Ace Carter got loose for a dunk and Marcus “Slim” Burwell made a layup that cut Wingate’s lead to 55-52 with 18:21 remaining.
But a pair of 3-pointers by Priest were answered by missed 3-pointers by the Indians who tried to match him. Wingate’s lead quickly swung back to double digits.
With 10 minutes left, Burwell, Catawba’s new point guard, went down with an ankle injury. That ended Catawba’s hopes of making things interesting.
Wingate cooled off a bit in the second half, but the pesky Bulldogs also worked for a lot more offensive boards and second-chance points. Wingate’s lead snowballed to as many as 19 points.
A bright spot for Catawba in the second half was newcomer Anthony Peacock, who accumulated nine points and five rebounds, but there was no serious comeback push.
Cottingham made the free throw that pushed Wingate to the 100 mark with 1:43 remaining.
After putting six men in double figures in the opener, Catawba placed only two in double digits Saturday — Whitfield and Phillips (13).
“We had a few who played OK, but it was one of those days when no one played really well,” Perron said.
A dozen Catawba players scored, but not frequently enough.
Wingate put five in double figures. Priest had 19 to help out Cottingham, and former Cox Mill guard Francis Sio tallied 15.
“They were small and we had the big guys,” Whitfield summed up. “We’ve got to do a bettter job of taking advantage.”
The next scheduled game for Catawba’s men is Dec. 5 at home against Augusta.
Catawba’s women are “on pause” for COVID-19 and hope to return to action on Dec. 16 at UVa-Wise.
WINGATE (103) — Cottingham 29, Priest 19, Sio 15, Nixon 14, Pringle 10, Clark 8, Tucker 6, Wilson 2, Bell.
CATAWBA (84) — Whitfield 23, Phillips 13, Peacock 9, Burwell 8, Hemming 8, Carter 6, Johnson 6, Robinson 4, Bowen 2, Burt 2, Pelote 2, Spencer 1.
Wingate 50 53 — 103
Catawba 43 42 — 84
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