Roper and Tornados hold off Catawba, 80-75
Senior guard scores 20 of his game-high 27 points in first half
Salisbury, N.C. - Josh Roper scored 20 of his game-high 27 points in the first half and Darius Moose pulled down a career high 12 rebounds as the Tornados survived a late second-half run by the Indians in Goodman Gymnasium on Wednesday night, 80-75.
Roper led Brevard (6-3, 4-1 SAC) with 27 points, hitting eight of 17 field goal attempts, including four three-pointers as the senior carried the team to a 39-24 first half lead. Drew Schauss added 11 points, hitting three three-pointers in the second half, while Gaither Hendrix had nine points to go with seven assists.
Keon Moore and Lee Martin led the Indians (5-8, 1-4 SAC) with pair of double-doubles, with Moore scoring a team-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Martin had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Justin Huntley added 17 points, while Stuart Thomson added 11 points as the Indians shot 75.0 percent (15-20) from the free throw line in the second half as Catawba attempted to complete their comeback.
Josh Jordan put the Tornados on the board to start off the game, converting a layup off an offensive rebound, but Kelvin Drakeford hit a hook shot in the paint over Moose on Catawba’s next possession put the score at 2 apiece with 18:08 on the clock.
Roper converted a three-pointer to give the Tornados the 5-2 lead on Brevard’s next trip down the court as the teams engaged in a back-and-forth game lasting the first six minutes of the opening period as a layup by Mayo put the score at 7-6 in favor of BC with 14:41 left in the first half.
After Moose and Huntley exchanged baskets, Jermichael Tanner hit his first three-pointer of the season, sparking a 14-5 run capped by a Roper acrobatic jumper in the paint as Brevard built a 23-13 lead with 6:32 left in the half. Roper closed out the first half with eight of the final 11 points, driving in for a layup and hitting back-to-back three-pointers as the Tornados went into the locker room with the 39-24 halftime lead.
Roper led all scorers at the halfway point of the game, hitting seven of 13 shots and four of five three-pointers in scoring 20 points, as the Tornados shot 47.1 percent (16-34) from the floor in the first half and 41.7 percent (5-12) from behind the arc. Catawba was led by Huntley as the junior guard from Mooresville, N.C. had seven points, hitting five of six from the free throw line to pace the Indians, while Martin had a game-high eight rebounds for the home team.
Moore broke a scoreless second half with a free throw at the 17:53 mark to cut into the Tornado lead and Drakeford hit a runner in the lane, before Schauss connected on his first three-pointer of the contest at the 16:17 mark to keep the Tornados up at 15, 42-27.
A jumper by Moore brought Catawba back to within 13 at the 12:34 mark at 49-36, but Tanner responded with a pair of free throws and a jumper in the right short corner, before Ryson Felder, the SAC’s three-point percentage leader coming into tonight’s game, hit a three-pointer from the left corner as Brevard took their largest lead of the evening at 20 points at the 11:42 mark.
Catawba steadily chipped away at the lead, bringing it back to within single digits at the 6:11 mark as Chris Tyree hit a three-pointer from the left corner off the assist from Huntley as the Indians closed the gap to within eight points at 64-56. Huntley drove in for a pair of layups, cutting the lead to four at 64-60 before a free throw by Hendrix ended the three-minute Brevard scoring drought at the 4:43 mark.
A jumper by Keon Moore in the paint brought the Indians back to within three points at the 4:24 mark, but a three-pointer by Schauss on the Tornados next trip down the court put Brevard back up by six at 68-62 and Brevard was able to hold off Catawba at the free throw line as Hendrix sealed the game with a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining as Brevard left Goodman Gymnasium with the 80-75 victory.
Roper added eight rebounds for the Tornados as Brevard and Catawba split the battle of the boards at 46 apiece. The Tornados shot 47.5 percent (28-59) from the floor and 40.9 percent (9-22) from the three-point line in their fourth conference victory of the season. Catawba forced 18 Brevard turnovers in the contest as three Indians players recorded multiple steals in the game, while the Indians went 72.4 percent (21-29) from the free throw line in the game.
The Tornados return home to Boshamer Gymnasium on Saturday, January 15th, as they host Lenoir-Rhyne University. Tipoff between the SAC opponents is set for 4 p.m.