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Catawba men’s basketball falls at Lenoir-Rhyne

HICKORY, N.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne used a late 9-1 run to take a 93-86 win over visiting Catawba in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Gym. It marked the opener for the Bears, while the Catawba Indians fall to 1-2 overall and 1-2 in the SAC.

Terrence Whitfield posted a team-high 23 points in the loss for Catawba. Lloyd Hemming added 18 off the bench with Catawba Phillips scoring 13. Ben Bowen had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Lenoir-Rhyne took a 44-40 edge at the break and were up a dozen early in the second half before Catawba fought back. A three-pointer and three free throws by Phillips started an 11-0 run that got the Indians within a point. The Indians retook a lead at 65-64 on a three-pointer by Whitfield midway through the final half.

Catawba pushed its edge to as many as four, but the Bears pulled even with five minutes left. Hemming tied the game for the last time on a jumper with 3:28 to go before LR used that 9-1 run over a two-minute span that was capped on a three-point play by Zim Fields to lead 84-76 with 1:14 to go.

R.J. Gunn scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Bears. Darrius Simmons added 18 and Mason Hawks 14.

Both teams shot over 50%, but the Bears had the edge at 57% and hit on nearly 60% in the second half. The shooting and a +4 edge in turnover margin helped offset a 37-28 edge by Catawba on the boards.

Catawba is scheduled to host Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday at 1 p.m.