CHARLOTTE, N.C. — James Stepp posted a career-high 27 points, but the Newberry men’s basketball team dropped its South Atlantic Conference opener to No. 18 Queens University of Charlotte 104-86 on Tuesday night at the Levine Center.
Queens moves to 5-0 and 1-0 in SAC play. Newberry falls to 3-2 and 0-1 in conference action.
Stepp led Newberry on 9-for-15 shooting for a new career-high of 27 points. Gerald Evans scored 16 points, collected five rebounds and swiped four steals.
Marshall Lange was also in double-figures with 13 points. Xavier Hill and Sikander Nielsen both corralled five rebounds apiece. D.J. Copeland dished out five assists.
Queens was hot right out of the gate, going on a 10-0 run to give the Royals a 15-3 lead. Newberry battled back to take a 28-27 lead on Mason Spease’s three-point basket. It would be the Wolves’ final lead of the contest as the Royals rattled off a 17-3 run to pull in front 46-31.
Nielsen notched a layup on Newberry’s final possession of the first half. Queens led at the break by a score of 54-41. Lange led the Wolves with 12 points in the frame.
Newberry attempted a rally early in the second half. The Wolves pulled within 11 on Stepp’s three pointer after five minutes of action, but would not pull any closer the rest of the way. Queens defeated Newberry 104-86 for Newberry’s lowest output of the season offensively.
The Wolves shot 40.3 percent (27-for-67) from the floor compared to Queens 52.1 percent (38-for-73). Newberry shot a season-best 46.2 percent (18-for-39) from distance.
The Royals also controlled the points in the paint 44-12. Newberry notched 53 bench points and 23 points off turnovers.
Mike Davis scored a game-high 29 points for the Royals, and Jalin Alexander added 14 points.
Newberry will travel to Warren Wilson (3-4) for a non-conference game Monday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.