SALISBURY, N.C. — The Newberry Wolves hit game-tying three-pointers at the end of regulation and the end of the first overtime, but the host Catawba Indians sealed their win on the third try, downing the scarlet and gray 98-96 in double overtime.
Newberry falls to 8-3 overall and 4-3 in South Atlantic Conference play with the loss. The Wolves head home for three straight games, with the next against Mars Hill at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Demarkus Smith led Newberry with 23 points in the contest, with Dondray Walker netting 18 points with four steals.
Brandon Taylor scored 15 points with six rebounds and Brunes Charles scored 12 points with five rebounds.
The first half was one of the Wolves’ worst shooting halves of the season, as Newberry connected on only 31.6 percent (12-of-38) of their field goal attempts. Despite that, Newberry only trailed 41-35 at the break, as the Indians could not pull away.
In the second half, Newberry needed just over a minute to cut the lead back down to two points and set off 29 minutes of back and forth basketball. Catawba led by as many as nine points when Kijuan Arrington sank a layup at the 14:35 mark to make it a 56-47 lead.
Newberry battled back, cutting the advantage to one score on multiple chances, but was unable to take the lead until the 5:22 mark when Taylor’s three-pointer put the Wolves up 71-70.
The Wolves were unable to extend that lead to more than one possession and Catawba took advantage with a pair of baskets which gave the hosts an 80-77 lead with 16 seconds left in regulation.
Gerald Evans sank a triple from the right wing with 5.4 seconds remaining to tie the game and the Newberry defense forced the Catawba dribbler out of bounds on the next play. Evans had a chance at a long-distance heave and drew rim, but the ball would not fall, sending the game to overtime.
Newberry scored four of the period’s first five points to get out to a three point lead, but a 6-0 Catawba run put the hosts up 87-84 inside 30 seconds to play. This time it was Walker with the late dramatics, sending the game to a second extra frame by nailing a three-pointer with 17.1 seconds left.
The back-and-forth nature of the contest carried into the second overtime, as a pair of Cole Birchfield free throws with just under a minute left tied the game at 96-all. After Arrington hit a pull-up jumper from the elbow to put Catawba up by a pair, Newberry had two chances on the other end to tie or win but was unable to get a clean look.
Newberry’s pressure defense forced 24 Catawba turnovers and 13 Wolves’ steals turned into 23 points off of turnovers. Unfortunately, none of those came in the overtimes, with Catawba netting seven points off of miscues in the extra periods.
Newberry has now lost eight consecutive overtime games, with the last OT win coming at Catawba in January 2012.