HARROGATE, Tenn. — A barrage of first half three-pointers and career highs from Brandon Riley and Mitch Riggs led the Newberry Wolves to a 113-98 win over the No. 16 Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters in Tex Turner Arena on Saturday.
With the win, Newberry is back at .500 on the season at 10-10 overall and 6-6 in the South Atlantic Conference. Lincoln Memorial falls to 16-4 overall and 9-3 in the conference. The win is just Newberry’s third over a nationally ranked opponent since joining Division II in 1991-92.
Riley had 25 points including a 13-of-16 performance at the free throw line. He also added seven rebounds and three steals to his line. Riggs scored 20 points on six three-pointers and a pair of free throws.
Aegir Steinarsson scored 19 points on five three-pointers to go with four assists and three rebounds. Brunes Charles scored 17 points and eight rebounds while Demarkus Smith had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, also grabbing three steals and passing out two assists.
For LMU, Cam Carden scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds, Lorenza Ross scored 16 points with five assists, Jake Troyli scored 14 points with eight rebounds, Chance Jones scored 13 points with four steals and Vincent Bailey scored 12 points with nine rebounds.
The game was nip-and-tuck early and the two teams were still tied at 12-all with 14:26 left in the first half. Three-pointers by Riggs and Steinarsson put Newberry up by six just two minutes later and the lead was out to 12 points at 28-16 with 9:58 to play in the half on threes from Steinarsson and Donray Walker.
The Wolves’ lead was down to 10 points at 31-21 with 8:15 to go before the scarlet and gray blew the game open with consecutive three-pointers from Walker, Smith and two from Riggs to push the lead to 22 points at 43-21 with seven minutes left in the first half. The two teams battled without any big runs for the rest of the period, as Newberry took a 59-40 lead into the halftime break.
LMU actually shot a higher percentage in the first half, connecting on 17-of-32 from the floor, with 4-of-10 three-point shooting and 2-of-5 from the charity stripe. Newberry made 19-of-37 of its field goals and connected on 10-of-22 of its three-point attempts while also making 11-of-13 of its free throws. Riggs and Riley each had 12 points at the half, with Steinarsson netting 11 and Smith scoring 10 in the half.
After the Railsplitters made a three-pointer to open the scoring in the second half, the Wolves quickly pushed out to what would be their largest lead of the game at 25 points when five straight Riley points made it a 70-45 game with 16:14 to play. The Railsplitters were not done, and cut the lead to 14 points when Ross’ jumper in the paint made it a 81-67 game with 10:20 to play. Newberry’s lead was at 22 points on a Riggs triple with 9:24 left to make it 90-68 before the ‘Splitters scored 12 straight points to get the lead back in single digits at 90-81 with 7:45 to go.
With 5:40 to play, the lead was down to five points when Tristan Hicks hit a jumper in the paint to make it 93-88. With the host team and their crowd back in the game, the Wolves used on last surge to seal the victory. Newberry scored the next eight points of the game on a pair of free throws from Charles and six straight Riley charity stripe conversions to put the lead back out to 13 points at 101-88 with 3:45 on the clock.
From there, the Railsplitters could get no closer than seven points, and a late fastbreak dunk by Charles put an exclamation point on an emphatic and important win. Riley’s 13 points in the second half led the Wolves, while Charles scored 10 in the period. Newberry shot 15-of-31 in the half, with 6-of-12 of its three-pointers finding the mark and 18-of-22 of its free throws successful. LMU made 21-of-46 of its field goal attempts, 4-of-18 of its three-pointers and 12-of-17 of its free throws.