Senior guard Logan Salow is settling back into the lineup for what Ashland hopes will be a strong stretch run.
Making his second consecutive start since returning from concussion symptoms, Salow matched his season-high with 18 points as the Tomcats turned away East Carter 75-65 on Tuesday night at Anderson Gym.
“I felt comfortable coming in and starting again,” said Salow, who also supplied six assists, four rebounds and two steals in just under 24 minutes of playing time. “I like playing with these guys. We’re starting to get fluent.”
Salow and Nick Miller combined to make 7-of-10 shots from 3-point range, helping Ashland bounce back from a home loss to Boyd County.
“I think Logan scored 16 against Boyd and comes back with 18 tonight,” Tomcat coach Buddy Biggs said. “He takes charge out there. He shows a lot of leadership on the floor.”
Meanwhile, 6-foot-6 sophomore Dikembe Dixson put his stamp on the victory with another double-double outing — 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Salow connected twice from behind the 3-point line in the third quarter, the second one extending the Tomcats’ lead to 15 points.
Ashland had a 62-49 advantage with six minutes remaining after Salow passed to Miller for an open 3-pointer, but East Carter refused to wilt.
Senior Kyle Stewart took advantage of Tomcat foul trouble on the front line to trigger the Raiders’ comeback. Stewart, who scored 22 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, made two free throws to slice the deficit to 66-62 with 2:54 remaining.
“We kept fighting. That’s definitely a good sight to see,” East Carter coach Brandon Baker said.
It marked the 6-3 Stewart’s first game back after sitting out last week with the flu.
“Kyle went to war. Ashland was in foul trouble and he took it in there,” Baker said. “We tried to run him in and out to give him at least a minute’s rest each quarter.”
Ashland countered the Raiders’ surge with six consecutive free throws, two each from Ross Thompson, Steven Friley and Zach Hart to make it 72-62 with 1:36 to go. The lead never dipped below eight the rest of the way.
Biggs was pleased with his team’s execution in the closing minutes.
“We handled the ball, hit free throws and put together three stops in a row,” Biggs said.
Ashland’s coach received a technical foul for protesting a call during East Carter’s rally. Quinn Huddle sank both free throws to cut the margin to six, then Stewart made a pair after Dixson picked up his fourth foul with just under three minutes left.
“East Carter didn’t quit,” Salow said. “We did a good job finally of stopping their momentum. After coach Biggs got the technical, I got the team together. I just told them we had to settle down and stretch the lead back out.”
Salow shot 4-for-6 on 3-pointers and Miller made three treys in four attempts as Ashland improved to 13-8.
“Our transition defense was not good enough,” Baker said. “Salow and Miller got open and made big shots.”
The Raiders also had a tough time against Dixson, who was 9-of-14 from the field. Along with his scoring and rebounding, Dixson had three steals, three assists and blocked a couple of shots.
“He’s a good player ... long and difficult to defend,” Baker said. “He has a quick first step and such a long reach.”
Miller scored 11 points and Thompson 10 for the Tomcats. Thompson also had five assists.
Ashland shot 55 percent from the floor, while East Carter hit just 38 percent. Connor Greene scored 12 points for the Raiders (9-11).
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2671.