SALISBURY, N.C. – The regular season champion Catawba College Indians did what they were supposed to do, but it took a late effort to secure the 84-53 victory over #8 seed Newberry at Goodman Gymnasium. Catawba advances to the semifinals of the 2005 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament, a championship it won last year as the #6 seed.
Catawba (23-5, 12-2 SAC) swept all three meetings with Newberry (8-20, 3-11 SAC) by an average margin of 21.6 points per contest.
The trio of Helgi Magnusson (Reykjavik, Iceland), Brian Graves (Newport News, Va.) and Chris Wooldridge (Norfolk, Va.) powered the hosts with 15, 14, and 13 points respectively.
Elijah Frasier (Irmo, S.C.) kept Newberry close in the first half, canning three of four treys for nine points in the period. The visitors trailed by only three (26-29) with less than a minute remaining, but Magnusson popped a three to put the margin at 32-26 going into the break.
Newberry had upset on its mind early in the second half, as four straight points by Eric Nwawel (Cameroon, Africa) put the Indians within a single bucket, 32-30, with 19:30 left in the final stanza. Unfortunately for Newberry, Catawba was able to regroup and put together a 22-5 run over the next six minutes to seal their ticket to Hickory.
For the game, Newberry shot a paltry 26.6 percent from the floor, and was only able to hit seven shots in the second half. Catawba shot an even 50 percent from the floor on the evening, and hit 21-of-28 free throws.
Tymere Zimmerman (Bennettsville, S.C.) led the Indians in scoring, notching ten points and a team-high three assists. Zimmerman was the only Indian in double figures. Frasier and Nwawel both scored nine points in the contest.
Catawba will advance to play #4 Tusculum Saturday at 4 p.m. at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory.