SAVANNAH, Ga. — A cold shooting night led to the Newberry Wolves’ lowest scoring total of the season in an 86-75 loss to the Armstrong Pirates in a holiday weekend contest in Alumni Arena on Saturday night.
Newberry falls to 3-3 on the season, while Armstrong is now 2-1. The Wolves’ next action will come on Thursday night in an exhibition contest against the Campbell Camels (2-5) in Buies Creek, N.C.
The Wolves were led by 19 points and six rebounds from Quayshun Hawkins (Columbia), while Xavier Holmes (Great Falls) had 17 points and six rebounds. Dondray Walker (Fountain Inn) had 11 points.
Armstrong’s Aric Miller recorded a triple-double with 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Wolves shot only 31.4 percent (22-of-70) from the floor and 21.2 percent (7-of-33) from three-point range, well below their season average in both categories. The game was Newberry’s worst three-point performance in a year and a half.
As such, Newberry was never able to take the lead in the game after Miller scored on the game’s opening possession. Walker hit a three on Newberry’s first shot of the game, but the Pirates responded with an 8-0 run to take a 12-3 lead with 14:55 left in the half.
The Wolves got back on the scoring track but were unable to significantly cut into the deficit before a Kenny Bellinger II triple at the 9:09 mark gave Armstrong a 27-14 lead for the hosts’ largest lead of the half. The scarlet and gray were not deterred and a Brandon Taylor (Coshocton, Ohio) jumper at the 6:44 mark cut the deficit to six points at 27-21. Armstrong was able to get the lead back out to 13 points in the half and would carry a 48-37 lead into the halftime break.
Newberry shot 33.3 percent (11-of-33) in the half and was only 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from the land of three, while Armstrong was 50 percent (18-of-36) from the field.
The second half started in much the same manner, with Armstrong pulling out to its largest lead of the game at 63-47 at the 13:24 mark of the game.
The Wolves howled back on an 11-0 run to cut AASU’s lead to five, when Walker’s triple at the 10:46 mark made it a 63-58 game. The game would go back and forth from there, and a Holmes fastbreak layup with just under eight minutes to play cut the Pirate lead to three at 67-64.
A pair of free throws from Brandon Riley (Baltimore, Md.) cut the lead to its lowest point of the half with 6:43 to go at 70-68.
With all of the Wolves’ work to get to within striking distance of the lead, the Pirates did just as well to keep their guests at bay. Holmes’ layup at the 5:17 mark had the lead at only two points before another string of cold shooting allowed the Pirates to push the lead back to eight by the 2:05 mark.
A pair of free throws from Demarkus Smith (Johnston) and a Hawkins three cut the lead back to just three points at 78-75 in a matter of seconds and an Armstrong offensive foul gave Newberry the ball with a chance to tie.
Unfortunately for the scarlet and gray, a missed trey was answered with a made on by Armstrong to push the lead back to six inside the final minute. A turnover followed by a foul and the ensuing free throws forced the Wolves into a desperation situation where they could not find shots, and the Pirates sailed off with a win.
Newberry shot only 29.7 percent (11-of-37) in the half from the field, with 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) of the three-pointers finding their mark. Holmes scored 13 in the half, while Hawkins had 11 points and five rebounds