NEWBERRY, S.C. – Newberry fell behind early in overtime, then took the lead after a Tommy Burke (Newberry, S.C.) three-pointer and never looked back in defeating North Greenville College on the road in an overtime rollercoaster, 69-67. Newberry improves to 5-12 on the season, while North Greenville drops to 4-16.
Not only were the Indians able to break an ugly nine-game losing streak, they were able to exact some measure of revenge on a Crusader team that throttled Newberry 81-66 in Eleazer Arena on January 6th.
That being said, early on it looked like a case of history repeating itself in Hayes Gymnasium as the home crowd watched their Crusaders jump out to 13-5 lead. But it was Tyler Fisher (Social Circle, Ga.) who got the Indian ball rolling with a three-point bucket, sparking an 20-4 run that put Newberry in the lead 25-17 with just over five minutes left in the first half. North Greenville cut the Indian lead to a single bucket after a P.J. Schumacher (Waynesburg, Pa.) three-point basket, but Burke answered with a pair of trifectas to send the Indians into the locker room at intermission with a 33-26 lead.
Burke tallied eight points in the opening stanza, and recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards on the evening. Speedy Crusader guard Victor Duck (Taylors, S.C.) scored ten in the first half, and finished with a team-high 17.
If the first half belonged to Burke and Duck, the second half was clearly all about Newberry point guard Elijah Frasier (Irmo, S.C.). Frasier was absolutely unconscious, scoring 15 points in the second act alone. Frasier set game-highs in points (19) and assists (six). In a span of just under five minutes, Frasier scored eight straight points as Newberry expanded their lead to as many as 12.
But the Crusaders were not done as they methodically chipped the lead away by means of a 19-11 run. It was back-and-forth until center Adam Howell (Seneca, S.C.) hit a jumper with 1:30 remaining in regulation giving the Indians a three point lead, 62-59. Howell finished with seven points and a game-high three blocks in the contest.
After a Newberry foul with under a minute remaining, Duck converted two free throws to cut the lead to one. On Newberry’s next trip Frasier tried feeding the ball inside to Howell, but the pass was picked off by Daniel Morbitzer (Lexington, S.C.), giving the Crusaders the final shot. On the ensuing possession, Indian guard Michael Dease (Bennettsville, S.C.) was whistled for a very suspect non-shooting foul, sending the accurate Duck to the charity stripe. Duck hit the first, but the back end caught iron, and the ball was collected by Newberry forward Reggie Coleman (Orangeburg, S.C.). Newberry had the last look at the hoop with 8.4 seconds left, but Burke’s shot was off-target, sending the game into overtime.
At the start of overtime, North Greenville’s Schumacher again showed his range by hitting a trifecta to put the Crusaders up early in OT. But Coleman and Burke were too much, as they combined to score all seven points for the Indians in extra time to ice the victory. Coleman continued his impressive streak of games, notching 12 points and eight boards in the contest. Schumacher finished the game with 16 points for North Greenville, with four three-point baskets included in his totals. Morbitzer, who torched the Indians in their first meeting, was relegated to a quiet eight points on the evening.
With one streak over, the Indians now turn their attention to ending their five-game South Atlantic Conference losing skid. Newberry will have an opportunity to do just that this Wednesday, when they take on Lenoir-Rhyne at 8 p.m. in Hickory, N.C.