SALISBURY, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team shot a blistering 73.9 percent in the second half, and outscored Catawba College by a 36-23 margin over the final 10 minutes to open the 2013-2014 season with a 90-86 victory on the first night of the Salisbury Roundball Classic.
Lees-McRae (1-0) opens the season with a win for the first time in eight years, shooting 47.4 percent from the floor, including a 73.9 percent clip in the second half. The Catawba Indians (0-1) won the battle on the glass by a 38-35 margin, as the Bobcats converted 21 Catawba turnovers into 26 points while sinking 32-of-47 attempts from the charity stripe.
The Bobcats placed five players in double figures on the night, as Raul Tutton (Memphis, Tenn.) poured in 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a 3-for-5 evening from beyond the arc. Darryl Bond (Nashville, Tenn.) added 15 markers and a game-high six rebounds, while Mike Chambers (Winston-Salem, N.C.) tallied 15 points off the bench.
Elon Edwards led the way for Catawba with a game-high 28 points, going 9-for-17 from the floor and knocking down five three-pointers. Chance Rucker added 21 markers with an 11-for-15 night from the charity stripe, as Vismantas Marijosius chipped in 12 points and five boards.
The Bobcats stormed out of the gate in the first half, opening an early 9-2 lead on a steal and a basket by Moore with 17:08 left on the clock. Catawba answered with a 19-9 spurt, claiming a 21-18 advantage following a Nick Houston trey at the 11:51 mark. The Catawba Indians continued to dictate play over the remainder of the first half, closing the period with a 14-11 run to take a 39-32 lead into the intermission.
Lees-McRae responded in the early moments of the second half, cutting the margin to 50-46 on a lay-in by DeAndre Tillman at the 14:41 mark. After Catawba countered with an 8-2 spurt to stretch the lead to 58-48, the Bobcats answered with a 19-9 run, evening the tally at 67 with a Moore layup with 6:24 to go.
The Bobcats would continue to push the tempo over the next several minutes, claiming a 76-73 lead following a bucket by Donte Falls (Shelby, N.C.) at the 3:02 mark. Catawba refused to give in, staying within striking distance before ultimately falling prey to clutch free throw shooting by Lees-McRae. The Bobcats knocked down 8-of-10 free throws in the final 61 seconds, capping the win in emphatic fashion on a throw down by Moore with seven ticks left.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Sunday when the Bobcats square off with Lenoir-Rhyne University at 4 p.m. on the final day of the Salisbury Roundball Classic on the Catawba campus.
- LMC -