CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Newberry’s fourth meeting with a top five nationally-ranked opponent saw both teams shooting lights out in a back-and-forth battle that saw No. 2 Queens pull away in the final minutes to win 103-95.
The Wolves matched Queens shot for shot throughout the contest going 53% from both the field and three-point range. Both teams looked comfortable from beyond the arc as they connected on a combined 35 treys.
Neither team could maintain momentum as the game saw 13 ties and 12 lead changes. After an 8-0 burst from the Royals at tipoff, neither team led by more than seven throughout the remainder of the game.
James Stepp and Rob Valentine provided a one-two punch to the Royals with each notching four shots from downtown and posting 19 and 16 points, respectively.
An 8-0 run from the Royals was quickly erased by a 9-0 Newberry streak that saw Stepp score their first five points helping grab the 9-8 edge. Queens went on a 5-0 burst, but back-to-back treys from Valentine put the score back in Newberry’s favor 19-18. The Royals never had more than a five-point separation with the Wolves tying it seven times in the half with the final time standing at 54 apiece with a minute remaining in the first stanza. A three from Royals’ Ike Agusi breaks the tie to put Queens up 57-54 at the break.
Three other Wolves – Quaman Burton, Jabrie Bullard, and Marshall Lange – finished the night with double-figure performances. Burton logged a team-high five assists to go with his 15 points, while Bullard grabbed six boards to complement his 14 points. Rounding out the top five, Lange chipped in 11 to mark his seventeenth time this season with a double-figure performance.
Newberry picked up where they left off to start the second with a pair of treys from Burton and Stepp knotting the game at 60. Another Stepp dagger gave the Wolves their largest lead of the night at 74-69, but the window was quickly closed as a Mike Davis three and Solomon Smith layup tied it up once again. An 8-3 Wolves run punctuated by a Lange three-pointer gave Newberry the slight 90-89 advantage, but a Queens’ Mike Davis layup would shift the one-point lead back to the Royals with 4:27 on the clock. Queens would not look back and use a 12-5 streak to lift them to 103-95 victory.
Similar to their last meeting in January, Newberry capitalized on the Royals’ errors with 21 points off of 15 turnovers.
The offensive battle was not the only competitive factor as each team pulled down 31 boards with Newberry eliminating the Royals’ second chance opportunities with 20 defensive rebounds. Burton, Bullard and Max Miller each grabbed five or more boards on the night.
Mike Davis led the Royals with 25 points, leading a group of five players in double figures. Davis was closely followed by Newberry native Jalin Alexander who had 23 points.