SALISBURY, NC - Freshman Mike Smith scored a game-high 28 points, including the clinching layup with 11 seconds left, as the Pfeiffer men's basketball team (1-1) picked up its first victory of the season, 90-86 over Catawba (0-2). The Falcons high powered attack featured three players score 17 of more. Sophomore Armin Omanovic scored all of his 17 points in the first half and A.J. Clark had 25 points.
Troy Warren led the Indians with 26 points on 12-of-14 shooting, and added 15 rebounds. Elon Edwards scored 17 points and had five assists and four rebounds.
Pfeiffer attempted a staggering 81 field goal attempts in the contest. The Falcons had a 52-43 advantage in rebounds, including a 24-13 margin on the offensive glass. Pfeiffer's pressure defense forced the Indians into 21 turnovers.
The first half was played at a rampant pace, with both teams pushing the ball up the court. The game was close the whole way as the biggest lead of the half was Pfeiffer by seven at the 5:50 mark. However, Catawba came back and took a 50-48 lead into the break. The story of the half was Omanovic, coming off the bench to score 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting and knocking down 3-of-5 from behind the arc. He connected on his first four field goal attempts and two three pointers. Smith added 13 first half points and added four rebounds and three assists. Joe Ledbetter pulled down seven boards in the half and David McNairt added six rebounds. Pfeiffer attempted 16 more field goals in the half, but shot 33 percent compared to Catawba's 51 percent shooting. Pfeiffer hit five of their first eight attempts from long range, while Catawba connected on five of their first nine from behind the arc.
Catawba started the second half on an 8-0 run and pushed the lead to 64-54 going into the first media timeout of the second half. The Falcons battled back and Andrew Guerrero's jumper tied the game at 67 with 10 minutes left. Pfeiffer would briefly reclaim the lead on a Charlie Wagoner three pointer that gave Pfeiffer a 73-72 advantage. Catawba scored a fast break layup on their next possession to reclaim the lead. Clark went on a personal 6-0 run with back-to-back threes giving Pfeiffer the upper hand at 84-79 with under four minutes to play. A pair of Smith free throws extended the lead to seven but Catawba answered with a three point play. Catawba cut the lead to 88-86 and Pfeiffer had the ball with 49 seconds. As the shot clock ran down, Smith attacked the basket and scored in the lane making it a two possession game. Catawba couldn’t convert on the other end and Pfeiffer came away with the victory.
The Falcons are back in action on Saturday evening when they host St. Augustine’s at 7:30 p.m. in their home opener.