GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – In a back and forth matchup that saw 10 ties and 14 lead changes, it was the Pioneers that came out on top, 99-87, despite strong performances from Newberry’s roster.
Tusculum’s Donovan Donaldson knocked down a three to put the Pioneers on top 41-40 to start the second half, but the Wolves retaliated and put together a 16-4 run to hold the 56-45 advantage at the 16:01 mark. The 11-point separation marked Newberry’s largest lead of the contest.
The Pioneers answered with their own 7-0 run in the ensuing minute to make it 56-52 before a trey from Rob Valentine made it a seven-point difference with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Newberry maintained their lead until a Donaldson layup pushed the Pioneers past the Wolves 70-69 at the 9:25 mark. A couple of made free throws from Xavier Hill would swing the advantage back to the Wolves until a Tusculum layup put them back up 77-76. A pair of free throws from James Stepp put the Wolves up for the final time, 78-77, with 5:50 left on the clock.
Tusculum’s Zach Hartle connected from beyond the arc to give the Pioneers the 81-78 edge, one that they would keep for the remainder of the game. A 21-9 run from the Pioneers down the stretch sealed the Wolves’ second consecutive loss.
The Wolves outrebounded Tusculum offensively 13-2 leading to eight second chance points on the night compared to none for Tusculum.
Four players – Rob Valentine, Marshall Lange, DJ Copeland and James Stepp – finished the contest in double figures. Stepp also had a team-high six rebounds and tied Luke Gibson in steals with three.
Both teams exchanged leads from the start until a 7-0 run from the Pioneers put them up 13-8 early in the first. A layup from Jamaal Satisfield tied for the fourth time at 15 apiece going into a media timeout. The Wolves led by as many as six coming out of the timeout, but a two-minute scoring drought allowed Tusculum to come back to tie it 32-32 with 2:42 left in the half. Tusculum regained the 38-37 edge with a pair of free throws from Hunter Parrish, but a fast break dagger from Valentine at the buzzer sent Newberry to the locker room up two at halftime.
Six of Valentine and Copeland’s 10 treys came during the first half. Copeland was perfect from the floor (4-for-4) with 11 points during the first 20 minutes of competition and finished the night with a season-high 16 points.