SALISBURY, N.C. – With four players reaching double figures, the Anderson men’s basketball team opened the New Year by rolling past Catawba, 78-55, Saturday afternoon at Goodman Gymnasium.
Anderson (9-3, 4-2 SAC) won its second straight contest and improved to 5-1 on the road this season with its third straight road win. The Trojans have won eight straight past Catawba (2-8, 2-4 SAC), which dropped its second consecutive decision and has lost four of its last five.
The Trojans were out-rebounded 36-35, with Catawba recording 20 offensive boards. AU shot 51 percent (26-of-51) from the field and connected on 10-of-14 (71.4 percent) from beyond the arc, which equaled its season-high in treys. The long-range accuracy ranks sixth in NCAA Division II this season and marked the highest 3-point accuracy since the Trojans connected on 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) versus the Indians last February.
Senior guard CJ Gleaton, who has reached double figures in three of the last four games, led all scorers with 16 points, including nine in the second half. The 6-foot-3 guard also recorded a season-high four steals. Senior guard Chandler Hash added 15 points, while junior guard Myson Jones nearly garnered his first double-double of the season by tallying 12 points and a career-high eight assists. Redshirt junior Chris Ross chipped in 10 points and five rebounds, with forward Kyle Sledge pulling down a team-best seven rebounds.
Catawba forward Tyrece Little led three Indians in double figures with 15 points, while forward Kijuan Arrington recorded a game-high eight rebounds.
“We had not shot the ball that well all season,” said Anderson head coach Jason Taylor. “The biggest difference in the halves was that we took care of the ball in the second half. I do not feel good about our rebounding. We need to get sharper and we will. Tony [Dargan] gave a boost off the bench and Alani [Adekambi] played well.”
With both teams coming off a 13-day layoff, the two squads combined for just two baskets through the first 3:33 of action, with the Trojans using a 6-0 outburst to take the largest lead of the half, at 8-2, with 15:33 left in the opening frame.
But Catawba chipped away at the AU lead with an 11-2 run, eventually knotting the score at 10 apiece on sophomore Julian Sampah’s layup at the 10:36 mark and took its first lead,13-10, less than two minutes later on sophomore guard Elon Edwards’ first 3-pointer of the contest.
AU countered with a 7-2 surge to regain a 17-15 edge, as Gleaton sparked the rally with five consecutive points and Ross capped it with a basket in the paint. The two-point edge proved to be a lead the Trojans would not relinquish, as AU carried a 27-24 edge into halftime.
The Trojans opened the second stanza by scoring the first four points to build a 31-24 lead less than two minutes into the half and capitalized on back-to-back 3-pointers from Jones and Gleaton to push out to a 42-33 advantage. Anderson pushed out to its first double-digit lead, 44-33 lead on a layup by Gleaton with 13:24 remaining in the game.
Leading by seven two minutes later, Anderson erupted on a 16-3 run over a three-minute span to take a 20-point lead with just more than eight minutes on the clock. The Trojans were a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc during the outburst, with Hash and freshman Tony Dargan each draining a pair of treys.
The Indians countered with six straight points to trim AU’s lead to 60-46, but Catawba would get no closer over the final five minutes.
The Trojans return to the friendly confines of the Abney Athletic Center to open a two-game SAC homestand on Wednesday, as they square off against 18th-ranked Lincoln Memorial for the second time this season. Tip-off versus the Railsplitters is slated for 8 p.m.