Junior Trio Leads Trojans Past Catawba

Junior Trio Leads Trojans Past Catawba

SALISBURY, N.C. – Juniors Gage Ellis, Jeremy Bouton and Andrew Boynton combined for 49 points, as the Anderson University men's basketball team outpaced Catawba, 76-67, in South Atlantic Conference action, Saturday afternoon at Goodman Gym.  

Anderson (4-8, 2-3 SAC) earned its second straight win, while also capturing its second road victory of the campaign and defeated the Indians for the third time in five meetings. Catawba fell to 3-6 overall and 0-4 in the league and has dropped four of its last five decisions.

Ellis and Bouton shared team-high scoring honors, with each netting 19 points. Bouton also pulled down a season-high 10 rebounds for the Trojans' first double-double of the season. Boynton dropped in 11 first-half points, while going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. The trio was 14-of-18 from the free throw line on the day. Senior guard Maurice Howard added 10 points and was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe, while handing out three assists. Freshman Josh Livingston recorded six points and five rebounds.

First Half
Catawba capitalized on a turnover and a pair of early fouls to score the first four points of the contest, but the Trojans quickly evened it up and took their first lead, as Ellis sandwiched a pair of driving layups around a basket by Livingston in a two-minute span. But the Indians countered with four straight points to gain an 8-6 advantage just before the first media timeout. 

The Indians held the lead for the next 3 ½ minutes, until Boynton drained the first of his three first-half 3-pointers to knot the score for the third time of the opening half, at 15-15.

Two minutes later, Catawba snapped a 17-17 tie with two quick buckets, but the Trojans answered with a 14-4 scoring outburst to claim a 31-25 lead with less than three minutes left in the half. Catawba responded by trimming AU's lead to just one, but the Trojans closed the half by scoring six of the final eight points and took a 37-32 edge into halftime. 

Second Half
The surge carried over into the second frame, as the Trojans built a 43-34 cushion with 18:41 on the clock, while Catawba responded with four unanswered points to climb back within five with more than 17 minutes left in the contest. Bouton's second trey of the game rebuilt AU's edge to 46-38, but Catawba scored seven consecutive points to pull within one with 13:16 remaining and Morrison's free throw at the 12:26 mark knotted the score for the first time of the second half and the fifth time of the afternoon.

Ellis snapped the deadlock with his sixth basket of the day and after Catawba's Malik Constantine gave the Indians their first lead, 49-48, since the six-minute mark of the first half, Ellis dropped in his first 3-pointer of the contest to boost AU's edge to 51-49.

The trey sparked a 17-4 scoring outburst by the Trojans, as they claimed their largest lead of the contest, 65-53, at the 5:20 mark. But Catawba quickly cut the lead in half before Ellis and Bouton connected on 3-of-4 from the free throw line and the Trojans, who are the top free throw shooting team in the SAC, survived a couple of late miscues inside the final minute by going 10-of-12 from the line down the stretch.  

The Trojans attempted 28 treys on the afternoon – their third-highest tally of the season. The 11 made 3-pointers equaled their second-most of the season. 

• The Trojans were 23-of-29 from the free throw line.
• The 23 made free throws equaled the Trojans' single-game high for the season.
• The 29 free throw attempts were the second-highest of the season.
• Catawba won the rebounding battle, 44-40.
• The 40 rebounds by the Trojans equaled their second-highest tally of the season.
• The score was tied five times and the lead changed hands five times.

The Trojans have a 13-day break for Christmas before wrapping up their nonconference schedule with a Dec. 30 contest at Conference Carolinas-foe Lees-McRae. Tip-off versus the Bobcats is slated for 7 p.m. in Banner Elk, N.C.