MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (9-12, 3-10 SAC) was downed by Catawba (17-5, 10-4 SAC) by a score of 89-66 at home Saturday evening inside Stanford Arena.
The Indians exploded out of the gate, opening the contest on a 9-0 run with Jordan McElveen leading the way, scoring four points in the stretch. Following a Mars Hill timeout, the Lions began to respond, scoring eight of the next 10 points to pull within three, trailing 11-8 with 12:19 remaining in the half.
The teams traded baskets until the 9:08 mark when the Indians would go on another run, scoring 11 straight points with three three-pointers made, two from Jameel Taylor. Mars Hill attempted to claw their way out of the double-digit deficit, but the hot-handed shooting of Catawba continued to extend their lead. Up 32-21 with under six minutes left in the half, Catawba strung together a 12-0 run to go up 44-21 with less than three minutes in half. A buzzer-beating tip-in layup from Taylor put the Indians up 50-24 after 20 minutes of play.
Taylor led all players with 15 points in the frame. Dotson Griffin scored a team-high six points and pulled down six rebounds. The Indians shot over 72 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 8-of-11 attempts and ended the half shooting just over 58 percent from the floor.
Mars Hill opened the second half scoring the first four points, but the Indians answered back by scoring nine of the next 12 to hold a 28-point lead with over four minutes played in the half. Trailing by 28, a Mars Hill 8-2 run began to chip away at the large Catawba lead. The Indians kept pushing back, scoring five of the next seven points to rebuild their 25-point lead.
The Lions were able to cut the deficit to 19 points off of a made Vernon Jackson free throw attempt and it would be the closest they would come for the remainder of the contest.
McElveen led the Indians with eight points in the second half. Mars Hill's Austin Gilyard, who went scoreless in the first half, scored 14 in the second for a team-high, going 6-of-8 from floor. Jackson and Matthew Powell added eight points apiece.
Taylor led all four Indian players who ended the contest in double-figures with 19 points. McElveen ended with 17, while Marcell Haskett and Devin Cooper added 16 and 10, respectively.
Mars Hill returns to action on Wednesday, February 13th when they host the Pioneers of Tusculum. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. inside Stanford Arena.