NEWBERRY, S.C. – Senior forward Brandon Moses scored a season-high 23 points to knock off conference-leading Tusculum College, 80-65, Wednesday night at Eleazer Arena. Tonight’s win tied the 1999-2000 squad for victories in a season, and at least one more win would give head coach David Conrady the best record since the 21-win season of 1981-82.
Newberry (12-11, 6-5 South Atlantic Conference) caught fire early in the game, making six straight shots – three of those from long range – to build a 19-5 lead. The home team went on a second run, sinking three consecutive treys to push the margin to 19, and a final 10-0 run ended the half and put the Indians up 48-21 going into the break. Moses (Aiken, S.C.) had the hot hand, making six of seven field goals and all five three pointers attempted to account for 17 points in the first half.
Tusculum (18-5, 9-2 SAC) suffered from poor shooting from every spot on the floor, most notably a two-for-13 performance from the foul line and finding the range on only one three-pointer in nine attempts. Junior forward Brad Hawks (Galax, Va.) was the only Pioneer immune to the curse, scoring ten first-half markers on five-for-nine shooting. Hawks would finish with 29 points, the only player that would overshadow Moses’ performance this night.
Coming out of intermission, the visitors intended to prove that the #4 South Atlantic Region ranking was no fluke, and started that mission with six straight points. The Indians answered each Pioneer rally, however, and kept the lead at 18 or more points for the majority of the second half. At the 4:03 mark, Douglas Tshomba (Brussels, Belgium) scored three of his ten points with a long-distance bomb to make the score 72-57. Newberry played ball control offense for the remainder of the game, and made the margin stand up at the final horn.
Newberry’s attack was far from a one-man show. Seniors Rashaad Carter (N. Charleston, S.C.) and Michael Dease (Bennettsville, S.C.) put 17 and 15 on the scoreboard in impressive shooting nights themselves. The Tymere Zimmerman-Tommy Burke rotation accounted for 16 points and 13 boards, Elijah Frasier (Irmo, S.C.) played the consummate point guard role with four assists and six rebounds as a bonus, and David Hampton (Orangeburg, S.C.) filled the middle to help against Hawks and Cliff Charles (Newark, N.J.), Tusculum’s two top scorers.
Charles captured five boards and made five interior shots for ten points. Drew Harmon (Germantown, Wis.), last week’s SAC player of the week, had some firepower left, seconding Hawks’ TC mark with 15 points. Outside of the four that scored double figures, Tusculum found exactly one point from the rest of its lineup.
By the numbers, Moses played a vital part in Newberry’s five-game home winning streak. Scoring performances of 18, 19 twice, 20 and 23 tonight have made Moses his team’s leading scorer in two of those affairs. In a December date, the forward scored 20 at Eleazer, which leads one to believe that he, as well as his teammates, finds an extra boost on the home court that is more than just mental.
“Part of building a successful program is learning how to win at home. We’ve gotten great support from our student body and community, and that makes a great atmosphere in which to play,” Conrady commented on the team’s play at home.
All three teams tied for third in the SAC—Newberry, Presbyterian, and Carson-Newman—won tonight, setting up two pivotal matchups next week: Newberry at C-N Wednesday night; and the season finale, Presbyterian at Newberry on the 28th. However, Newberry must take care of business this Saturday at Catawba. Tusculum will play at 4 p.m. Saturday against Carson-Newman, a team that dropped second place Lenoir-Rhyne to 7-4, one game better than the trio at 6-5.