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LJ McCoy
LJ McCoy led the Bears with 25 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Basketball Suffers Third Straight Single Digit Setback

Lenoir-Rhyne saw its losing streak run to three straight but those three losses have been by a combined 12 points as LR suffered another narrow defeat, this time at Catawba on Saturday afternoon, 87-82. The Bears had a 10 point second half lead but Catawba fought back and scored 39 points in the final 11:41 minutes to complete the comeback.

The Bears shot 46.7 percent in the first half and hit four 3-pointers on their way to a 34-29 advantage at the break. LR trailed 20-16 with 7:43 in the first half but used 12-2 run to take a 28-22 edge at the 4:40 mark. Nas Tyson’s bucket in the paint with five seconds left in the first half sent LR to the break up five.

LR carried that momentum into the second half and pushed the lead to 44-34 at the 16:39 mark with a fastbreak layup from L.J. McCoy. LR would have a 10-point lead on three different occasions in the second half, with the final being 58-48 with 11:41 to play. However, Catawba would answer with an 11-0 run in 1:27 to reclaim the lead.

The Indians would grab a 70-67 lead with 6:08 in regulation but the Bears answered with six straight, capped by a Hamilton Campbell triple, to go up 73-70 with 5:16 left. Catawba would protect its home court and pushed the lead to as many as eight before LR chipped away. A Damion Medwinter 3-pointer mad it 85-82 with 53 seconds. The Bears got a stop on the defensive end and wound up with a decent look from three to tie the game but Catawba grabbed the defensive rebound and sank two free throws with 13 seconds to seal the deal. Catawba shot 65.5 percent from the field in the second half.

McCoy finished with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting and went 6-of-10 from three. T.J. Nesmith had his first double-double with 20 points and 10 boards. Jalen Johnson also registered a double-double, coming off the bench for 13 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists. Salle Wilson had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. This was the first time LR had both Nesmith and Johnson in the lineup together since Dec. 19.

The Bears are 6-7 overall, 1-4 in the South Atlantic Conference. All but one of the Bears’ seven losses on the year have come by single digits. LR will return home on Wednesday when they take on Coker for the second time in a calendar week. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.