NEWBERRY — The Newberry Wolves jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, snapping a three-game losing streak with a 105-78 walloping of the Catawba Indians in Eleazer Arena on Saturday.
The Wolves go to 6-8 overall and 2-4 in the South Atlantic Conference, while Catawba falls to 4-10 and 1-5 in the league. The Scarlet and Gray return to action on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Brevard.
Brandon Riley led the charge for the Wolves with a career-high 24 points, five rebounds and five steals to pace five Newberry players in double figures. Xavier Holmes earned his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Dondray Walker scored 17 points, while Quayshun Hawkins scored 14 points with five assists. Aegir Steinarsson netted 11 points with three assists and Demarkus Smith helped fill the box score with nine points, five rebounds and four steals.
For Catawba, Tyrece Little had 18 points and nine rebounds, Reggie Perkins scored 12 points and Chris Watson scored 10 points. Lee Martin had six points and 10 rebounds.
After the teams traded baskets on the opening possessions, a James Ashby fastbreak three-pointer gave Newberry the lead for good. Catawba had the lead down to 9-8 with 17 minutes left in the first half before the Wolves scored 11 straight points on consecutive triples from Walker, Steinarsson and Riley and a pair of free throws by Byron Dickerson to push the lead to 20-8 with 15:33 to go in the period.
Catawba’s Perkins hit a quick triple to cut the lead back to single digits before another surge of Newberry points. It was a 13-0 run this time, with a triple from Riley, back-to-back threes from Hawkins, a pair of Walker free throws and a basket in the paint by Holmes to push the lead to 33-11 at the 11:05 mark.
The surges calmed down for the rest of the half, and a Hawkins trey with just under a minute to go put Newberry’s largest lead of the half at 57-31 at the end of the period. The Wolves shot 50.0 percent (9-of-18) from three and 19-of-39 (48.7 percent) from the floor, while holding Catawba to a 31.3 percent (10-of-32) rate from the floor. The Wolves outrebounded the Indians 26-18 in the half.
Catawba came out of the locker room after the break on a mission to chip away at the lead, taking 10 points off of Newberry’s advantage in the first five minutes at 64-48 on a Nick Houston fastbreak lay-in. The Wolves responded by going on a 10-1 run capped by a Riley three-point play at the 12:11 mark to put the lead at 74-49.
A Hawkins three-pointer with nine minutes left cracked the 30-point margin for the first time at 86-56. Riley’s free throws with 2:50 left gave the Wolves their largest lead of the game at 105-68 before the Indians scored the last 10 points of the game while the Newberry reserves were in the game. Davon Hill and Bennett Murphy each had good looks in the dying moments but were unable to connect on a bucket.
Newberry only outscored the Indians by one point in the second half, with Catawba shooting 57.6 percent (19-of-33) from the floor. The Wolves were a perfect 11-of-11 at the charity stripe in the second half and held a 22-15 rebounding lead in the period.
For the game, Newberry shot 35-of-73 (47.9 percent) from the floor and 42.4 percent (14-of-33) from the land of three. The Wolves also connected on an excellent 91.3 percent (21-of-23) from the free throw line.