After trailing by six points at the half, the Newberry Wolves outscored the opposing Tusculum Pioneers by 25 points in the second half on the way to a commanding 87-68 South Atlantic Conference win in Eleazer Arena on Saturday evening.
Newberry moves to 11-6 overall and 6-4 in SAC play with the win, while Tusculum falls to 7-11 overall and 4-6 in the league. The Wolves host non-conference foe Hiwassee on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The hot outside shooting of Dondray Walker (Fountain Inn, S.C.) once again pulled Newberry to a win, as the redshirt freshman sensation scored 23 points on the afternoon, including six three-pointers. Matt Dixon (Elizabeth City, N.C.) was also integral to the victory with 12 points and career highs with eight rebounds and eight assists. Shamel Akins (Charlotte, N.C.) scored 12 points and Quayshun Hawkins (Columbia, S.C.) netted 10 points.
For Tusculum, Kevin Vest got off to a hot start with 18 first half points on the way to a career-high 31 points, while Jordan Davidson recorded a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double. Justin Steigerwald scored 10 points to round out double figure scorers.
Tusculum took control of the game early, shooting out to a nine-point lead at 14-5 in the first six minutes of the game, with Vest scoring seven straight points for the visiting Pioneers. Newberry was able to battle back over the course of the next seven minutes, with a Dixon triple knotting the game at 23-all with seven minutes left in the period. But Tusculum answered with eight straight points on a Steigerwald trey and a Vest layup followed by a triple. The Wolves could get no closer than a five-point margin by the break, as Tusculum carried a 37-31 advantage into the break.
The Pioneers shot a net-scorching 60.0% (15-of-25) in the half, including connecting on 4-of-6 three-pointers. By contrast, Newberry shot only 38.7% (12-of-31) in the period, with seven of those coming from long distance.
Newberry quickly cut into the deficit out of the gate in the second half. After trailing by five with 18:12 left in regulation, Akins and Hawkins nailed back-to-back triples to give Newberry its first lead of the game at 41-40 with 17:31 to go. The Pioneers took off on a 10-0 surge over the next three minutes, with Vest’s layup putting TC up 50-41 at the 14:29 mark.
From there, the Wolves regained their shooting touch by making six of the next seven shots on a 14-5 run to tie the game at 55-all with 11:11 left on a Walker trey.
That surge was followed by a 14-4 Newberry run, with another Walker three-pointer at the 5:56 mark giving the Wolves their first double digit lead of the afternoon at 69-59. Back-to-back Walker triples in the next two minutes put Newberry up by 14 and effectively sealed the game for the hosts. Newberry was able to extend the lead to as many a 21 points before closing out the 87-68 win.
Walker netted 16 points in the second half, as Newberry made 20-of-31 (64.5%) of its shots, including 8-of-13 (61.5%) of their long distance attempts. Tusculum was limited to just 33.3% (8-of-24) shooting in the half.
Newberry committed only 10 turnovers in the game - the fewest under head coach Dave Davis’ uptempo style in the last two seasons. The Wolves also assisted on 24 of 32 made buckets.