Kyle Phillips paced Belmont Abbey with 26 points and nearly rallied the Crusaders to a win. He scored 17 in the second half and helped erase a 10-point Catawba edge. Down 46-35, Belmont Abbey held Catawba to just two points over a six and half minute stretch to go on top 56-48 with 9:35 to play. Phillips had 13 points in the 21-2 spurt.
Catawba regrouped and regained the lead on a pair of free throws by Kelvin Drakeford with 6:43 remaining and went up for good on a jumper by Keon Moore at 61-60 with 6:01 to go. The Indians pushed the lead to seven before the Crusaders made one last run.
Belmont Abbey trailed 69-62 with just under two minutes remaining, but got two free throws from Richard Barbee and a jumper from Phillips to draw within 69-66 with 1:12 left. Dominick Reid hit a key jumper with 38 seconds to go and Moore added a free throw with 20 seconds remaining for the final margin. Reid led the Indians with 21 points.
Moore followed Reid with 16 points, while Kejuan Mayo pulled down nine rebounds. Reid added six boards and five assists. Barbee joined Phillips in double digits for the Crusaders with 20 points. Each had seven rebounds.
Both teams shot 45 percent for the game and committed 14 turnovers. Belmont Abbey grabbed one more rebound. Catawba nailed five three-pointers, all in the first half, while the Crusaders went 0-for-5 from behind the arc. The Indians made just 11-of-22 at the line.