NEWBERRY — Season-high point performances from Marshall Lange and James Stepp was not enough to push the Wolves past Virginia State in the tournament championship, where they fell 90-85.
Lange finished the game with a season-high 22 points and marked his second time this season with over 20 points. He also had two rebounds and two assists.
Both teams exchanged leads from the start to set the tone early in the contest. Newberry went 8-for-16 from three and posted a 53.6% field goal percentage to hold the lead throughout the majority of the first 20 minutes. Stepp drained his fourth three of the half to give the Wolves the 13-point lead with 1:55 remaining in the first. Those were Newberry’s last points of the half as Virginia State went on a 6-0 run to trim the Wolves’ edge to seven making it 49-42 going into halftime. There were five ties and 10 lead changes that occurred in the first half.
Virginia State struggled offensively in the first half, only shooting 40% from the field.
Stepp remained perfect from the floor during the first half going 5-for-5 from the floor with four of those shots counting for three. He amassed a team-high 16 points in the first 20 minutes of play and ended the day with 21 points.
Three quick baskets from Virginia State closed the gap within one to start the second half. The Trojans slowly chipped away at the Wolves’ lead to tie it 63-63 with 10:19 remaining in regulation. A pair of free throws from Virginia State’s William Vedder gave the Trojans’ the 65-63 advantage, one that they kept for the remainder of the contest.
Shooting from beyond the arc proved difficult for the Wolves in the second with the team making four three-pointers on 20 attempts. Virginia State dominated in the paint with 50 points compared to 28 from the Wolves.
Rob Valentine and Nick Dietrich each notched double-figures in the game with 17 and 10, respectively. Max Miller posted three blocks and Olufemi Boko had four assists.
Lange and Stepp were named to the All-Tournament Team in a postgame ceremony. The Trojans’ Walter Williams earned tournament MVP honors.
In the first night of the tournament, the Wolves defeated Voorhees 101-94 thanks to a total team effort.