HARTSVILLE — Despite forcing a season-high 25 Cobra turnovers, Newberry was unable to finish strong down the stretch and fell to conference foe Coker 89-84.
The 25 turnovers were the most Newberry had forced this season since Bowie State committed 24 on Nov. 26. Newberry capitalized on the Cobras’ mistakes by tallying 18 points off of Coker turnovers.
Back-to-back threes from Xavier Hill and Rob Valentine tied the game for the first time in the second half at 66 apiece. On the ensuing possession, James Stepp knocked down another trey to put the Wolves up 69-66 with 9:14 remaining in the game.
The Wolves went on a 7-2 run over the next three minutes to extend their lead to 76-70 with just under six minutes remaining on the clock. Valentine was responsible for five of the team’s seven points during the time frame.
A Wolves’ technical combined with a Coker basket gave them the 77-76 edge with 4:54 ticks remaining.
Both teams exchanged baskets to tie it at 79 apiece for the final time in the contest before Coker’s Donte Samuels sunk a layup to give the Cobras a two-point advantage.
Newberry retaliated with a trey from Valentine and a jump shot from Marshall Lange to grab the 84-81 edge.
Six Coker free throws proved the difference as Newberry was unable to score past the 1:54 mark in an overall tight contest.
Valentine notched his third straight game with 20+ points, tallying 22 points, five rebounds and four steals on the night.
Coker began the game with a 7-0 burst, but the Wolves were able to chip away at the Cobras’ lead to take the 18-17 lead off of a pair of free throws from Valentine. Newberry held onto the lead and a jump shot from Luke Gibson gave the Wolves their largest lead of the night with 6:13 left in the first half.
A trey from Coker’s Khalil Halls sparked an 8-2 run to tie the game at 25 apiece with 3:37 left on the clock. Both teams managed to tie the game three more times in the closing minutes and a Cobra layup with six seconds left in the first half gave them the 33-31 lead going into halftime.
Sophomore Marshall Lange passed the 500-career point threshold with a jump shot late in the first half. He finished the night with 10 points and six rebounds.
Coker outnumbered the Wolves in rebounds, steals, assists and blocks.
Max Miller posted double figures with 13 points and five rebounds. All five of his rebounds came during the second half.
Newberry will return to Eleazer Arena to face Mars Hill on Monday, Jan. 8 at 6:00 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 9, but was postponed due to inclement weather.