Tusculum Tops Men's Basketball In Wild Finish
GREENEVILLE, TN -- In a wild and furious finish, Tusculum’s Jordan Davidson hit a game-winning layup with 4.8 seconds remaining to lead the host Pioneers to a 70-69 over Catawba in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena. The win lifts the Pioneers to 7-7 overall and 4-2 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 4-10 and 1-5.
In a contest that saw 14 ties and 22 lead changes, Tusculum held a 67-62 advantage with 24 seconds remaining following a pair of free throws by senior Kevin Vest. The Indians trimmed the deficit to three on a driving layup with Willie Gilmore (Fayetteville, NC/Trinity Christian) with 15.8 seconds left on the clock. Following a Catawba timeout, Tusculum inbounded the basketball to Tommy Klempin, who was immediately fouled with 13.6 seconds remaining. But following the play, Klempin was whistled for a dead-ball technical.
Klempin made one of his two free throws on the Catawba foul to make the score 68-64, Tusculum. Catawba's Keon Moore (Colerain, NC/Bertie HS) made his two free throws on the TC technical to make it a two-point game (68-66). But more importantly, Catawba had possession of the ball. The Indians got the ball into Moore who calmly drained a three-pointer from 20-feet away from the left wing to give Catawba 69-68 lead with 10.1 seconds left.
Out of timeouts, the Pioneers raced the ball up the left side and Vest drove under the basket and spotted Davidson, who went down the lane and banked in the winning bucket to put Tusculum back out in front by one. Catawba, who was also out of timeouts, got the ball down floor to Moore who got off a three-point attempt from 22 feet away, but his shot hit off the side of the rim at the buzzer as Tusculum held on for the victory.
Vest led the Pioneers with 19 points, shooting 7-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free throw line, those coming in the final 49 seconds of the contest. Klempin scored 17 points and hauled in a team-high nine rebounds, including four offensive boards. Davidson finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, while Steigerwald tallied seven points and six boards.
Moore led all players with his 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Gilmore added 10 points off the bench. Cameron Lovelace (Cherryville, NC/Cherryville HS/N. Florida) added nine points on three 3-pointers, while freshman Tyrece Little (Greenville, NC/Rose HS) finished with eight points and six rebounds in the loss.
In the first 20 minutes, the lead bounced back and forth nine times. Catawba scored eight straight points to take its largest lead of the game at 21-14 at the 9:02 mark, following a three-point play by Lee Martin (Mt. Airy, NC/N. Surry HS/Hargrave). Tusculum responded with an 11-4 run over the next five minutes to regain the lead at 25-23 thanks to a Vest three-pointer with 4:44 left before halftime. The lead changed hands two more times in the period, the last when Catawba’s Stuart Thomson hit a three-pointer with 22 seconds left on the scoreboard to give the Indians a 31-29 lead into the locker room.
The second-half was a thriller as the lead changed 13 times as either team would lead by more than three points in the opening18 minutes. With Catawba leading 58-55 following a Moore fast-break layup off a Tusculum turnover, the Pioneers scored eight straight points thanks to a high arching layup by rookie Darius Carter and back-to-back buckets by Vest. Steigerwald capped the 8-0 run with a pair of free throws with 1:19 on the scoreboard as Tusculum led 63-58.
Martin scored a Catawba layup with 51.6 seconds remaining to make the score 63-60, but Vest was fouled on the inbounds pass and he made both ends of the bonus to put the Pioneers back out to a five-point lead at 65-60 with 49.7 seconds remaining. Moore’s driving dunk with 35.4 seconds left trimmed the deficit to a single-possession at 65-62, setting the table for the last-second excitement.
The Pioneers finished the game shooting 46.4 percent from the field, while limiting Catawba to 39.7 percent, including 14-of-37 in the second half (37.8%). Tusculum also won the rebound battled 36-34, including 23-18 in the final 20 minutes. TC out-scored Catawba in the paint by a 48-30 margin, but Catawba took advantage of a dozen offensive rebounds as the Indians out-scored Tusculum 22-7 in second-chance points.Related Item: Box Score