ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson men’s basketball team rallied from a five-point deficit in overtime to defeat Catawba, 89-86, in South Atlantic Conference action Saturday afternoon at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the league with its fourth consecutive victory, while Catawba fell to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the SAC with its third consecutive setback.
After the Indians’ Lee Martin put Catawba ahead, 84-79, with his second 3-pointer of the afternoon with 3:03 left in the extra frame, the Trojans finished the game on a 10-2 run to claim its fourth straight win past Catawba.
Anderson’s Denzail Jones ignited the rally with a driving layup and forward Bo Holston’s two free throws with 1:24 on the clock gave the Trojans a lead they would not surrender, at 85-84. Martin was unable to connect on another 3-point attempt that would have given the visitors the lead with just less than a minute left and Jones boosted AU’s advantage to three with another heavily contested layup.
Following a 30-second timeout, Catawba’s Elon Edwards, who finished the game with 33 points, misfired on a layup and AU’s DJ McGowan gathered the rebound and found Jones, who was fouled and sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 8.2 seconds left.
Edwards dropped in a layup to get the Indians within 89-86 with three ticks on the clock, and the Indians had one final opportunity to knot the score for the 14th time of the game after the Trojans were unable to successfully inbound the ball, but freshman guard Nick Houston was unable to connect on an off-balance attempt at the buzzer.
Anderson erupted on a 13-2 run five minutes into the first half and turned a two-point lead into a 29-16 advantage with 11 minutes left in the frame. The Trojan defense forced five turnovers in the first eight minutes and junior sharpshooter Chandler Hash connected on a career-high five 3-pointers in the opening nine minutes of action to fuel the outburst.
But Catawba countered with 17 unanswered points over a four-minute span to take a 33-29 lead, as Edwards drained four treys during the spurt. McGowan broke AU’s drought with a short jumper at the 6:05 mark, but the Indians took a 43-38 lead to the break.
Jones drained the first of two 3-pointers with 15:15 remaining to give Anderson its first lead since the 7:42 mark of the first half, at 52-50, and the game featured eight ties over the final 14 minutes, with neither team able to build more than a three-point lead until the overtime period.
With the score knotted at 74-74 and 1:26 on the clock, the Indians’ Martin drew a foul on a three-point attempt and sank three free throws to give Catawba the three-point lead, but Hash answered quickly with a layup on the other end to pull AU back within 77-76. Forced to foul, the Trojans sent Edwards to the free throw line, where the freshman guard missed the first of two then stepped on the line to negate the second attempt.
Jones converted one-of-two from the free throw line with 33.4 seconds left, setting up the overtime.
Hash finished with a career-high 24 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. Jones added 21 points and a team-high six assists, while Holston and CJ Gleaton each netted 12 points. Holston also pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Edwards led all scorers with his 33-point effort, with 25 coming in the first half. Second-Team All-SAC selection Tyrece Little posted a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while Martin finished with 15 points.
The Trojans visit Conference Carolinas opponent North Greenville for their first road game of the season on Wednesday. Tip-off versus the Crusaders is slated for 7 p.m.