SALISBURY, N.C. — The Catawba College men’s basketball team used a 12-3 run in the final five minutes to lead the Catawba Indians to an 82-78 come-from-behind win over visiting Tusculum College Saturday afternoon at Goodman Gym in South Atlantic Conference action.
The Pioneers (4-2, 1-1 SAC) have their three-game winning streak snapped, while Catawba evens its record at 3-3 overall and go to 2-1 in league play.
Saturday’s contest continued a trend in the all-time series between Tusculum and Catawba. In the 40 documented meetings between the two schools, 26 have been decided by 10 points or less, including 20 games by five or fewer including Saturday’s thriller.
Catawba’s Jameel Taylor led all scorers with 20 points to go along with his six rebounds. Jerrin Morrison added 13 points, while Julian Sampah finished with 12 markers and a game-high 14 rebounds. Rakeen Brown wrapped up the double-digit scoring with 11 points and dished out four assists.
Tusculum senior Javon Price posted a team-best 16 points, including 13 in the opening half. Chase Mounce added 15 points and seven rebounds, and Darius Carter posted a dozen markers after sitting out most of the first half due to foul trouble.
Catawba overcame a 15-point first half deficit and trailed 75-70 with 4:46 to go in regulation. The Indians went on a 6-0 run to take a 76-75 lead with 3:54 left. Carter made one of two free throws to knot the game at 76-76 with three minutes to go.
Brown connected on a three-pointer 14 seconds later for his third trey of the afternoon to give the Indians a 79-76 advantage.
Both teams went on a scoring drought which last for 2:32 as Tusculum missed its next six shots and Catawba could only get off one three-point try, missed three free throws and committed a turnover.
Jamel Taylor ended the scoring drought as he made the second of his two free throw tries with 14 seconds left to give Catawba an 80-76 lead. Mounce got an offensive rebound and put-back with five seconds to go to trim the deficit in half at 80-78. But Andrew Ingram was fouled and he made his two free throws with four seconds remaining to seal the victory for the Indians.
Tusculum raced out to a 14-5 lead in the first five minutes as TC made six of its first seven shots. The Pioneers moved out to their largest lead of the game at 34-19 with 7:28 to go in the opening period following a Kendall Patterson jumper.
The Indians would whittle the deficit back to single digits and Brown nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer as Tusculum led 43-36 at the intermission.
Tusculum bumped its advantage back out to double digits and led 51-39 following three free throws by Price with 17:34 to go. But Taylor would be fouled while shooting a three-pointer as well on Catawba’s ensuing possession and he was successful on all three of his trips to the stripe to make it a nine-point contest (53-44) again.
A Carter lay-up gave Tusculum a 53-42 advantage, but the Indians would respond with a 10-1 spurt over the next 3:04 to trail 54-52 following a three-point play from Sampah. TC got back-to-back buckets from Mounce and Patterson as TC led 58-52.
With Tusculum leading 60-54 with 12:02 on the clock, Catawba scored seven unanswered points to take a 61-60 lead with 10:46 to go. It was the Indians first lead since being ahead 2-0 to start the contest.
The lead would exchange hands three times before Catawba moved up 67-64 with 8:10 remaining. Tusculum followed with an 11-3 run to go up 75-70 with 4:46 left before the late rally by the home team.
Tusculum opened the game shooting lights out from long range going 9-of-17 from three-point territory in the first half for 52.9 percent. In the second half, TC missed all 12 of its shot from beyond the arc and finished shooting 36 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.
Catawba finished the game shooting 45.3 percent, while TC shot 43 percent. The Indians out-rebounded the Pioneers by a 42-33 margin and out-scored TC in the paint 38-28, including 22-10 in the first half.
Tusculum freshman Zach Hartle posted nine points, while Patterson finished with seven points and three assists. Cory Fagan contributed six points, while Matt Shown added four points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Pioneers return home on Tuesday to face Anderson University for an 8 p.m. contest at Pioneer Arena.
(Courtesy Tusculum Athletics)