The Belmont Abbey men's basketball team shot 67 percent in the second half as it outscored Catawba 55-45 after leading by just three at the break to race past the Indians 97-84 this afternoon inside the Wheeler Center. The victory snaps a six game losing streak as the Crusaders improve to 3-7, while Catawba drops to 5-6.
The 97 points scored were the most since the Abbey defeated Pfeiffer 97-88 in Misenheimer on February 8, 2014.
Playing for the first time since December 16, four Crusader starters scored at least 17 points as 24 of the 34 baskets were assisted. Every available player saw action as senior guard Ray Chen led the way with 19 points and eight assists, while Deion Lane and Markel Pollard each added 18. Nick Hough totaled 17.
Aidan Richard, in his first career game, netted eight points and four rebounds in just ten minutes of action.
After a first half that was back and forth throughout, the Crusaders, which shot 59 percent for the game, made 19 of 28 (67.9 percent) in the second half as it answered every Catawba charge to move its lead into double figures. The highest lead of the game was 19 points with 2:08 left as Lane got behind the Indians press and sank an easy layup to move the lead to 93-74.
Catawba's Julian Sampah knotted the game at 48 with 15:12 to play in the game, but the Crusaders took the lead for good on their next possession, as Spencer Wilson started a 10-2 Crusaders run that pushed the lead to ten, at that point the highest of the game, at 60-50 with 11:17 to play.
The visitors clawed back to close the gap to five at 62-57 with 9:44 left, but Belmont Abbey countered with a 17-7 jaunt to extend the lead to 79-64 with 6:14 to play.
From there, the lead never dipped below 14 and Lane made it a 19 point game with his 15th point at the 2:08 mark.
Belmont Abbey is back in action Saturday with a road tilt at Lenoir-Rhyne.