ANDERSON — The Newberry Wolves led by 19 points in the second half, but saw the Anderson Trojans come back to force overtime and hand the scarlet and gray their first loss of the season, 85-83, in the Abney Athletic Center on Saturday evening.
Newberry falls to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in South Atlantic Conference play, becoming the last team in the South Atlantic Conference and the state of South Carolina to pick up a loss. Anderson is now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in league play.
The game was the fourth straight meeting between the two schools to go to overtime, all of which have been won by Anderson. Anderson’s last three contests — Lincoln Memorial, Wingate and Newberry — have all gone into overtime.
Gerald Evans led Newberry with 21 points and three assists. Dondray Walker scored 18 points with six rebounds, while Demarkus Smith scored 12 points with five rebounds and Brunes Charles had 10 points with five rebounds.
For Anderson, Chandler Hash had 30 points including the three-pointer to tie up the game with 4.3 seconds left in regulation and send the game to overtime. Myson Jones scored 18 points, C.J. Gleaton had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds and Chriss Ross scored 13 points with eight rebounds.
The first half started slowly for both sides, with the score tied at 11-all with 11:35 left in the period. The Wolves would go on an 8-0 run later in the half with Mitch Riggs hitting a triple, Charles converting a layup and Evans making a trey to put a Newberry lead at 30-16 with 2:47 left in the half.
Anderson was able to cut the lead back down to single digits before the half, but a pair of Walker free throws just before time expired in the period but the Wolves’ halftime advantage at 38-27.
Newberry shot 43.3 percent (13-of-30) from the field in the first half with five three pointers and 7-of-8 free throws. Newberry made 11 steals in the period.
The Wolves howled out of the gate in the second half, making four of their first five shots, with all of those coming from long range. With 14:39 to go in the half, Cole Birchfield made a three-pointer to give the scarlet and gray their largest lead of the game at 55-36.
Over the next three minutes, the Trojans worked their way back into the game with a 10-0 surge to bring their deficit back down into single figures. Newberry would go on spurts, but couldn’t get back to a double digit lead again.
Anderson scored six straight points over a two and a half minute span, with Gleaton’s free throws at the 2:46 mark tying the game at 66-all.
Newberry was up by three points with the shot clock off and forced a poor shot by Jones, but an Anderson offensive rebound was tapped to an open Hash at the top of the key and he tied up the game at 72-all. Evans’ buzzer-beating jumper was no good, sending the teams to overtime.
The Wolves’ shooting rate fell to 31.3 percent (10-of-32) in the second half, and Newberry turned the ball over four times and had only two steals. Anderson improved to a 46.7 percent (14-of-30) shooting clip in the half and missed only one free throw.
The Wolves were unable to connect from the field early in the overtime frame, but were steady at the charity stripe. An Evans layup inside two minutes to go was followed by a Walker steal, converted into a Xavier Holmes layup to tie the game at 79’s with 1:15 left.
D.J. McGowan made a layup to put Anderson up two inside the final minute, but a pair of Evans free throws with 15 seconds left the the game back up at 83’s. Gleaton would blast toward the goal for a scoop-and-score basket, giving Anderson the lead with 4.3 seconds left.
Newberry got the ball into the corner for a three-point attempt, but it was judged no have no contact by the officials, giving the Wolves their first loss.
For the game, the Wolves shot 37.1 percent (26-of-70) - a season-low rate which led to the fewest points in a game this season. Newberry did have a solid 84.0 percent (21-of-25) rate at the charity stripe and made 10 three-pointers, but none in overtime or the last 15 minutes of regulation, missing the final nine long distance attempts.
The Wolves started a run of four games in eight days with the game, hosting Bob Jones on Tuesday, traveling to Barber-Scotia on Thursday and hosting Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.