SALISBURY, N.C. – Trailing by 12 with 10:48 to go in the second half, Reggie Hollinger tied the contest on a buzzer-beating layup forcing overtime, before Pfeiffer University ran away in the extra session for a 95-89 season opening victory over Catawba College on Friday night in the Highway 52 Shootout. The Falcons will move into the championship game for the second-straight year trying to defend their title and will face the winner of Livingstone/Morris at either 3:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.
Down by a dozen midway through the second, a three-pointer by KC Anuna temporarily stopped the Catawba run before a steal by Hollinger and triple by Cade Isley sliced the lead in half to six with 5:47 to play. After a three ball by the Indians’ Willie Gilmore put Catawba back up nine, a 6-0 run by Pfeiffer with four of those points from Danny Smith, the Falcons were down just three with 3:29 left on the clock.
Smith converted a pair of free throws with 51 ticks left to make it an 81-79 Catawba lead while the Falcon defense stopped two jumpers to set up the game-tying piece. After a Pfeiffer timeout with two seconds left, an in-bound pass from the baseline went to a cutting Hollinger in the lane for the layup forcing overtime.
In the extra five minutes, both teams traded early free throws and jumpers for an 88-88 game with 1:43 left. Josh Humphrey would knock down a pair of free throws just 17 seconds later to give the Falcons the lead for good. Hollinger would add a final layup with Smith to ice the six-point win.
Hollinger was one of five Falcons in double figures dropping 25 in the season opener with Smith following at 19. Keon Moore paced Catawba with 30 in the loss. The Pfeiffer defense forced 30 Indian turnovers resulting in 29 Falcon points. Pfeiffer held a 42-38 advantage on the boards. Catawba shot just 61% from the charity stripe in the loss.