MARS HILL, N.C. – The Lions men's basketball team dropped a tough 72-68 decision to the Catawba Indians on Saturday afternoon. Mars Hill falls to 4-16 overall and 2-12 in the league, while CC improves to 14-6 overall and 8-6 within the conference.
Vernon Jackson led the Lions with a team-high 18 points, while Valentin Bauer and Bennett Wilson chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively. Collin Hartman pulled down a team-best seven boards. Mars Hill shot 40.7% (24-59) from the floor and was beat on the boards by a total of 44-35.
The Lions came out quickly with a 7-0 run, forcing a timeout by Catawba at the 17:48 mark of the opening half. That lead grew to as many as eight (13-5) before the Indians used a 21-12 run over eight-plus of game time to take their first lead (26-25) with three and a half minutes left before halftime. A 10-5 spurt by the Blue and Gold sent Mars Hill into the locker room with a 35-31 lead.
Catawba opened up a six-point lead (45-39) after in the second half of action following a three-pointer by Arrington at the 15:08 point. Indiana Rotondo returned the favor, capping off a 15-8 run giving the Lions the lead back 54-53 with just under 10 to play. However, that would be the last lead MHU held, eventually dropping the contest 72-68.
KJ Arrington led Catawba with a game-high 24 points to go along with his six rebounds. Jameel Taylor added 16, while RJ Robinson dropped 11 in the winning effort. For the game, Catawba shot 43.3% (26-60) from the floor, including only 4-of-16 from three.
Mars Hill will return to action on Wednesday, February 1, traveling to Jefferson City, Tenn. to take on the Carson-Newman Eagles. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.