Salisbury, N.C. - Gaither Hendrix scored 17 of his team high 19 points in the second half and Jonathan Hopper added seven points off the bench in the final 20 minutes, but the steady overall play by Keon Moore kept the Tornados comeback attempt at bay as the Indians held off Brevard in Goodman Gymnasium on Wednesday night, 71-60.
Moore scored 23 of his game high 35 points in the first half to stake Catawba (6-15, 3-10 SAC) to a 43-22 halftime lead, but Brevard (3-20, 2-11 SAC) fought their way back into the game, cutting the double-digit lead all the way to six points on a Jermichael Tanner layup with 4:03 left in the contest. However, the Tornados comeback bid ran out of steam as Moore scored the final five points of the game to clinch the season sweep over Brevard.
Hendrix led the Tornados offensive efforts with 19 points as Brevard shot 45.1 percent (23-51) from the floor in the contest. Tanner added nine points and three assists, while Darius Moose scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds for Brevard. Michael Gist also added seven rebounds in the game, while Dominique Pickett and Hopper finished with seven points apiece.
Moore led all players with 35 points, going 11-for-21 from the floor and a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line in leading the Indians to the victory. Justin Huntley added nine points and six rebounds, while Tyrece Little had eight points and 10 rebounds as the Indians won the battle of the boards on Wednesday evening, finishing the game with the 42-27 advantage.
Stuart Thomson and Darius Moose traded baskets in the early going before the Indians went on a 16-2 run with Moore scoring 10 points for Catawba during the seven minute stretch as the hosts built an 18-4 lead with 11:42 remaining in the first half. The lead would expand to 24 as the Indians continued to press as Catawba went up 41-17 with 3:07 on the clock on Chris Tyree’s three-pointer.
A pair of Tyree free throws kept the lead at 24 with two minutes remaining in the half, but the Tornados scored the final three points before the break as Moose went in for the layup and Tanner converted a free throw attempt to put the score at 43-22 in favor of Catawba as the teams headed into the break.
The lead would expand to 26 with 15:39 to play as Little went in for the layup off the assist from Willie Gilmore, but Hendrix answered on the opposite end for the Tornados as Brevard began an 11-0 run capped by a Hopper jumper to cut the lead to 54-39 with 12:45 on the clock. A layup by Huntley snapped the BC streak, but Hendrix answered with another layup as the Tornados brought the game to within 11 following a pair of Pickett free throws with 9:53 to play.
Kelvin Drakeford and Little extended the lead to 61-47 from the free throw line, but Hopper brought the game to within single digits as the freshman guard hit a jumper and then drained a three-pointer on the next BC possession to put the score at 61-52 with 7:21 left in the game.
The Tornados continued to press, cutting the score all the way down to within six points following a pair of free throws by Aleksandar Vasiljevic and a Tanner layup, putting the score at 66-60 with 4:03 remaining. However, the Brevard rally fell short as the Tornados were held without a basket in the final four minutes of the contest and Moore put the game away from the free throw line, going a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe over the final two minutes to give the Indians the 71-60 victory.
Brevard returns to Brevard, N.C. on Saturday, February 11th, as the Tornados welcome Mars Hill College for a South Atlantic Conference contest. Tipoff between the Tornados and the Lions is set for 4 p.m.