Catawba stops Chowan

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010

MURFREESBORO – Senior Lando Morrison scored his second double-double of the season, but it wasn’t enough as Chowan’s men basketball team overcame a 16-point second-half deficit, but still fell to visiting Catawba College Wednesday afternoon at the Helms Center, 66-63.

The Hawks took their first lead of the game with just over eight-and-a-half minutes to play and tied the game for the fourth time with less than 50 seconds to go. They had two chances to win, but two late turnovers led to a trio of late free throws to seal the win for the Indians.

Morrison scored a game-high 21 points and had 16 rebounds while fellow senior Jaleel Nelson had 11 points and three steals. Sophomore Mark Brown and had 10 points as did fellow-soph Anton Shoetan off the bench to round out the double-figure scoring for the home team.

Senior Antonio Houston led a trio of Catawba players in double figures with 21 and became the 3rd all-time leading scorer in Indians’ history.

“We looked like a team that hadn’t played in 14 days,” said a disappointed coach Jim Tribbett afterward, “but they hadn’t either.

“The first half was really poor execution-wise,” he added, “but once we picked the tempo up in the second half, it got us more excited defensively, because the game’s not a lot of fun when you’re not scoring.”

The non-conference loss dropped Chowan to 4-4 and they are 3-2 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

The effects of the Christmas break and only a pair of practices prior to tip-off showed for the Hawks in the first half as they missed five of their first six shots and trailed 7-2 in the first three-and-a-half minutes of the contest.

A Shoetan three-pointer – Chowan’s only made-shot from beyond the arc in the half – got them within two at the 15:48 mark, 7-5, but that was as close as they came in the first half shooting a dismal 21 percent from the floor.

Fortunately, Catawba’s physical play led to 13 first-half fouls being whistled on the Indians and Chowan was able to convert 12-of-18 free throws. Despite the lack of offensive punch, the Hawks only trailed by 11 at the break, 34-23.

Catawba added to that bulge opening the second half to take their largest lead of the game, 40-24, at the 17:56 mark. But from there Chowan stepped it up, especially on the glass as they out-rebounded the Indians, 14-5, over nine minutes to help get back in the game.

Everyone contributed as the Blue-and-White outscored Catawba, 26-9, during that span. Sophomore Zach Hicks came off the bench with a strong inside move in the lane to cut it to 11 at 44-33, and four-and-a-half minutes later Charles Rhodes followed up a miss with a layup to get Chowan within one at 47-46.

Brown gave Chowan its first lead with a baseline three-pointer right in front on his own cheering bench to make it 51-49. After the two teams went back and forth for the next two minutes, Houston hit a three-pointer for Catawba and ignited a run that gave the Indians a six-point lead with two minutes to play.

Chowan came back to tie it with four Morrison free throws and a left-handed layup by Brown to make it 63-63 with under a minute to play. But on the next possession, Catawba’s Rob Fields was fouled and made 1-of-2 to give the Indians a 64-63 lead.

On the trip up-court the Indians’ Don Rutherford stepped in and made a steal in the low post and coach Jim Baker called timeout. Chowan then fouled Cameron Lovelace who made two more free throws for a 66-63 lead.

Chowan’s last chance faded on a second turnover with six seconds to play and the Indians had broken a two-game losing slide.

“Our being in shape and extra free throw shooting in practice paid off,” said Morrison after the game. “Getting so far down early though hurt us, but we were right there until the end.”

“It’s tough, real tough,” added Shoetan shaking his head. “We almost came out with it, but we didn’t. We’ll be ready come the weekend.”