The first time was Feb. 9 when he drilled 32 points in a win over Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, N.C. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the Preseason All-CIAA guard surpassed his previous high with 40 points in a 91-85 victory over Livingstone College at New Trent Gymnasium in Salisbury, N.C.
Gathright led an SAU squad which scored a season-high in points on Wednesday. They shot 49.1 percent including 45.5 percent behind the three-point line. They were impressive at the free throw line, making 25 of 29 attempts for 86.2 percent. The free throws made were the most this season for the Falcons.
Gathright was a huge reason why the offense hummed so smoothly. He connected on 11 of 17 shots including 4 of 6 from three-point range. Gathright was accurate at the free throw line, hitting 14 of 15 from the charity stripe.
The Falcons needed all of Gathright’s points against Blue Bears, who was led by 38 points from their Preseason All-CIAA point guard Roger Ray. But Gathright got more help as Jalen Gaddy (Jr./Raleigh, NC) added 16 points and D.J. Harrison (Sr./Winston-Salem, NC) tallied 14 points, including several crucial free throws, and 11 rebounds. No other Livingstone player scored in double figures.
Ray ranks second and Gathright ranks third in the CIAA in points per game.
Early on, Gathright kept the Falcons in the game after they fell behind. He scored 18 first-half points as the Falcons withstood a 12-point first-half deficit. His four-point play (Gathright was fouled after making a three) was the first of eight straight points he scored which ignited a 12-3 run to close out the half.
The momentum carried over in the second half as the Falcons outscored the Blue Bears 54-45 to erase a 40-37 halftime deficit. The 54 points tie the most in a half by the Falcons this season.
Gathright scored 22 points in the second half including seven points during a 19-5 run to open the half for a 56-45 lead. Gaddy scored eight points and Harrison had four points during the surge.
Led by Gathright’s hot shooting, the Falcons built a 14-point lead before the Blue Bears mounted a comeback. They got within four points numerous times and three points once, but clutch free throw shooting by several players, including Gathright and Harrison, kept the Blue Bears at bay. Harrison canned four straight free throws in the final 30 seconds for the Falcons.
Hirk Williams (Jr./Manassas, VA) had five rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists for the Falcons, who outrebounded the much taller Blue Bears 39-34. Craig McDaniel (Sr./Holly Springs, NC) and Otis Hill, Jr. (Jr./Shallotte, NC) combined for seven assists for the Falcons.
Ray had seven assists, four rebounds and two steals for the Blue Bears, who were limited to 36 percent shooting in the second half after making 55.6 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes. They were 19 of 33 from the charity stripe for 57.6 percent.
The loss drops the Blue Bears (7-4 Southern Division, 16-10 overall) out of first in the Southern Division. The win avenges an early season overtime loss to the Blue Bears (69-66) in Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 30.
After playing their last away game of the season, the Falcons (4-7 Southern Division, 9-16 overall) return to Emery Gymnasium for the season finale against Fayetteville State University on Saturday, Feb. 23. The starting time has been moved to 6 p.m.
-Office of Sports Information