NEWBERRY — With both teams tied in the South Atlantic Conference standings the Wolves were seeking a much-needed conference victory. Despite a late rally from the Trojans it was Newberry who came out on top 88-84 at Eleazer Arena.
While both teams were almost even shooting from the field, it was the Wolves’ effectiveness from beyond the arc that proved the difference. Newberry nearly tripled the Trojans in made three-pointers with 15 compared to six.
Rob Valentine led the offensive effort going 9-for-14 from the field including six treys to end with 28 points. His four assists tied with Luke Gibson for the team-high.
James Stepp entered double-figures with 15 points adding his own four threes. The dynamic duo of Valentine and Stepp combined for 10 of the Wolves’ 15 from deep. Jabrie Bullard and Marshall Lange each chipped in two baskets from deep and finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
A majority of the Wolves’ first half points came from beyond the arc as nine of their 12 buckets were three-pointers. The aerial assault began with treys from Bullard, Valentine and Stepp to knot it at nine apiece early in the contest. Anderson would break the tie with a 5-0 run but Newberry’s hot shooting continued as Valentine knocked down back-to-back treys to take the 19-16 advantage. The Trojans would stall offensively to allow the Wolves a 19-4 streak over the span of eight minutes to stretch their lead to 10, 32-20. Anderson would make their last three shots of the half to narrow the gap to nine, 38-27, entering intermission.
The Wolves took advantage of 18 Trojan turnovers for 15 points and nine steals. Quaman Burton led the team with three takeaways and rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 points.
A 10-0 run from the Trojans in the beginning of the second stanza cut Newberry’s lead to two in what would be a back-and-forth battle. Newberry retaliated with their own 10-0 streak that was soon erased by the Trojans to tie it back up at 57 apiece with 10:16 on the clock. In the ensuing five minutes Anderson would go cold from the field while Newberry would make six of their next eight shots to create a four-point separation.
Back-to-back Trojan treys chipped away at the Wolves’ lead and pulled them within three, 83-80, with under a minute remaining. Free throws from Stepp and Xavier Hill staved off a Trojan comeback to secure the Wolves’ 88-84 victory.
Free throw shooting continued to be an issue as the Wolves missed over half of their 35 attempts from the line. Anderson’s 81.8% from the charity stripe kept them in the game down the stretch.