NEWBERRY, S.C. – The home opener for the Newberry Indians couldn’t have gone much better, as they defeated the Erskine Flying Fleet 80-75 in men’s basketball action Tuesday evening. Newberry evens its record at 2-2, while Erskine falls to 0-2 on the young season. The game marked the first win at Eleazer Arena for first-year head coach Shaun Golden.
Handing Golden the win on a silver platter was Indian guard Michael Dease (Bennettsville, S.C.), who had a career high 29 points in the contest. Dease eclipsed his previous high of 27, which he set in the season opener at Georgia College & State University. Dease hit an impressive 14 of 16 free throws in the game, while contributing defensively with five boards and two steals.
Newberry came out swinging in the first half, getting out to a lead as big as 12 points. However, Erskine fought back late in the first on the sharp shooting of guard T.J. Taylor (Gastonia, N.C.). Taylor had a team-high 15 points for the game, collecting eight of those in the first stanza. At the half, Newberry clanged to a tenuous 40-36 lead.
Erskine exploded in the second half, opening up with a 13-2 run to put the Flying Fleet up by seven. Triggering the run was again Taylor, along with some long-distance work from Fleet guard Matt Odom (Six Mile, S.C.). Odom had 11 points on the night, including two baskets from beyond the arch.
The game stayed tight throughout the second half, a half that featured five lead changes. With just a little over four minutes left and Erskine only down by one, Newberry never looked back after a baseline layup from standout forward Tommy Burke (Newberry, S.C.). Burke had a relatively quiet night for the Indians, going for only four points on the night, but hit the shots when Newberry needed them the most.
Tymere Zimmerman (Bennettsville, S.C.) had another fantastic game for the Indians, finishing with ten points and seven boards. Senior guard Elijah Frasier (Irmo, S.C.) added 14 points on the night on 5-for-9 shooting.
Newberry hits the hardwood again this weekend for a pair of game in Clinton, S.C., host of the SAC/Peach Belt Clash. The Indians will take on Lander on Friday and USC Aiken on Saturday.