NEWBERRY — Coming off of back-to-back losses, the Wolves were searching for a win. They found one by handing No. 20 Carson-Newman its first loss of the season with a 75-70 victory.
James Stepp had 19 points, with half of them coming in the final 4:12 off a pair of threes and a jumper. He had eight of the team’s final 10 points in regulation.
Rob Valentine continued his double-digit scoring streak with 19 points which included a team-high five baskets from deep.
A three-point play from Eagles’ Malik Abraham trimmed the Wolves’ lead to one with 4:22 left in the contest. Carson-Newman would fail to score another field goal for the remainder of the game.
The win marked the highest ranked opponent the Wolves have defeated since No. 16 Lincoln Memorial on the road in 2013.
Coming out of halftime, the Wolves were looking for redemption after shaky second half performances against Bowie State and Wingate. Valentine connected from three-point range to tie the score at 37 apiece to give Newberry a boost to start the second half. The Eagles went on a 6-0 run, but the Wolves barked at their heels and a dagger from D.J. Copeland gave Newberry a 45-44 lead, one they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Newberry capitalized on the Eagles’ mistakes with 12 points off turnovers. Carson-Newman committed 18 turnovers compared to nine from the Wolves.
D.J. Copeland and Jamaal Satisfield led the team with six rebounds apiece. Newberry out-rebounded the Eagles 36-33.
After a quick basket from Valentine in the opening minute, the Eagles went on a 5-0 spurt to make it 7-2 in the opening minutes. Newberry rebounded with five points of their own, but it would not stop Carson-Newman from going on another 6-0 run to help give them a 10-point lead over the Wolves, their largest of the contest. A pair of treys from Valentine and Copeland combined with a layup from Satisfield tied the game 26-26 with under two minutes remaining. Both teams exchanged threes down the stretch, but it would be Carson-Newman with the one point, 35-34, lead at halftime. Four lead changes occurred in the final 70 seconds of the first half.
The Wolves were a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line during the second half and shot 40% from deep, connecting on six baskets.
Carson-Newman’s 70 points is their lowest total of the season.