NEWBERRY — A night after allowing the fewest points in the Dave Davis era, Newberry again used a smothering perimeter defense to down North Greenville 81-69.
The Crusaders (1-1) shot over 43% on their two-point opportunities in Saturday afternoon’s contest. North Greenville went 3-for-20 (15.0%) from three-point range while the Wolves shot at a 38% clip by knocking down 11 of their 29 opportunities from beyond the arc.
Newberry took the lead for good at the 15:13 mark of the first half on a three-point field goal by Nick Dietrich, that sparked a 16-0 run over the next five minutes. The lead swelled to 19 points, its largest of the game, on a Rob Valentine dunk with 7:17 remaining in the half that made the score 28-9.
Valentine scored 13 points, one of four Wolves to finish in double figures, as part of Newberry’s balanced scoring attack. His four made field goals represented the team high on a night the Wolves went 21-for-52 from the field.
James Stepp and Marshall Lange led the Wolves with 14 points apiece, with Stepp’s four assists also representing a team high. Freshman Max Miller had 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds in 22 minutes, contributing to Newberry’s 51-17 edge in bench points.
North Greenville got 21 points and five rebounds from Tommy Wade. The Crusaders held a 32-20 edge in the paint and a 23-16 advantage in second-chance points after pulling down 23 offensive rebounds. The teams finished the contest tied in rebounding at 46.
North Greenville twice trimmed the Newberry lead to single digits in the second half, coming as close as three points midway through the period following a 13-1 run. But three free throws by Miller and a Valentine triple stemmed the tide and allowed the Wolves to regain the separation they enjoyed for most of the first period on their way to the 12-point victory.
On Friday, Newberry kicked off the 2017-18 campaign with a 71-56 win over nonconference foe Erskine in the Little Four SAC-Conference Carolinas Challenge.