SALISBURY, N.C. - Newberry College did its part to remain in the race for third place in the conference, building a late five-point lead and surviving a last-second Catawba three-point attempt to defeat the host Indians 66-63 in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action. Newberry improves to 13-11 overall and 7-5 in the SAC, while Catawba falls to 9-16 and 4-8.
The contest was tightly contested with six ties and a dozen lead changes. Newberry held several six-point leads in the opening half and took a 41-39 lead at the break, hitting on 59% of its shots. Catawba would score the first six points of the second half and Newberry would not go back in front until the 8:34 mark on a jumper by Rashaad Carter (N. Charleston, S.C.).
Newberry led 63-58 with 3:42 left following a three-pointer by Brian Reese (Goose Creek, S.C.), but Catawba would get a layup from Chris Wooldridge (Norfolk, Va.) and a jumper by Brian Frasier (Martinsville, Va.) to cut the deficit to 64-62 with 2:21 remaining.
Wooldridge went to the line with 22 seconds remaining and hit the first of two. Catawba’s Helgi Magnusson (Reykjavik, Iceland) got the rebound, but the Tribe would commit a turnover with 15 seconds left. Michael Dease (Bennettsville, S.C.) made two free throws with eight seconds left and Magnusson misfired on a three-point try at the buzzer.
Newberry shot 51% for the game and had just 10 turnovers, while Catawba stayed close with a 34-24 edge on the glass. Tommy Burke (Newberry, S.C.) scored 13 points to lead Newberry, while Carter had 12 and Tymere Zimmerman (Bennettsville, S.C.) 10 points. Frasier had 16 points to lead Catawba with Magnusson adding 14 points and nine rebounds. Wooldridge had 13 points off the bench, while Brian Graves (Newport News, Va.) tossed in 12 and added five assists.
The victorious Indians play at Carson-Newman Wednesday night in a key conference battle, the winner having the inside track on third place in the SAC. Catawba faces Presbyterian, who stands one game back of Newberry in league standings.