NEWBERRY — Offensive troubles plagued the Wolves as they were unable to wipe out a Coker lead during the second half resulting in a 86-80 loss.
Five Wolves – Rob Valentine, Max Miller, James Stepp, Jabrie Bullard, and Xavier Hill – posted double-figures with Valentine leading the way with 14 points and four rebounds. His performance helped him surpass 500 career points with over 400 coming this season.
Miller finished just shy of a double-double with 13 points and eight boards. Bullard and Stepp each chipped in 12 points apiece while Hill rounded out the top five with 11 points.
After going 0-for-4 from the floor to open the second half, the Wolves put together a 10-0 run highlighted by a layup from Jamaal Satisfield to give Newberry the 49-48 edge with 15:18 left on the clock. Coker retaliated with their own 7-0 streak to reclaim the lead with a little over 13 minutes remaining.
Back-to-back jumpers from Valentine combined with a layup from Miller put the Wolves back within one, but offensive woes held Newberry scoreless for three minutes as Coker extended their lead to 65-58. With the lead in hand, the Cobras never looked back and were able to hold the advantage throughout the half despite several attempts from the Wolves to erase the deficit.
Despite 29 trips to the charity stripe, the Wolves connected on only 16 attempts for a 55.2 free throw percentage. The 13 missed shots proved to be a crucial factor down the stretch.
Coker tallied a quick five points in the opening minute before a pair of treys from Valentine and Bullard put the Wolves in front 7-5. A three-point play from Miller would extend Newberry’s separation to three, 11-8, marking their largest lead of the night. A jump shot from Coker’s Marquis Green sparked a 15-3 run that was punctuated with three daggers from Khalil Halls to make it 23-14. Another three from Halls at the 4:25 mark would be Coker’s last points of the half as Newberry would go on a 7-0 run to slice the lead to four, 39-35, heading into halftime.
The defensive battle was evenly matched with each team pulling down 40 boards apiece. Newberry prolonged their possessions with 12 offensive rebounds compared to six from the Cobras, leading to 14 second chance points for the Wolves.
Quaman Burton tallied a team-high four steals as the Wolves nearly doubled Coker in takeaways on the night.