NEWBERRY, S.C. – Newberry used their highest offensive output of the season in a losing effort, falling to the visiting Tusculum Pioneers 97-85 in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers improve on the season to 14-9 overall and 7-4 in the SAC, while Newberry drops to 7-18 and 2-10 in the conference.
While the Indians were on the short end of the proverbial stick, this will be a night sophomore guard Corey Etheridge (Columbia, S.C.) won’t soon forget, as he notched a career-high point tally in leading Newberry with 23 points.
For a more than a bit in the first half it was all Tusculum, as the crowd at Eleazer Arena watched the Pioneers rocket out to a 30-7 lead over the first 11:20 of the first half. Douglas Tshomba (Brussels, Belgium) scored nine over that period to pace Tusculum.
After that initial run, Newberry picked itself up off the ground and pieced together a 20-5 run to pull the Indians within eight digits, 35-27. The Pioneers came right back riding the heels of the hot-shooting Matt Farus (Zanesville, Ohio) who tallied 12 first half points off the bench, as Tusculum held on to a 44-31 advantage at intermission.
It was an outstanding night offensively for Tusculum as well, as the Pioneers saw six players score in double figures, including Tshomba’s game-high 29 points. Tusculum shot nearly 50 percent for the game from the floor.
Tshomba also tied for the game-high total in rebounds with eight, sharing the honor with Newberry forward Tommy Burke (Newberry, S.C.).
The Pioneers came out hot again in the second half, opening the final stanza with a 16-7 run, putting the game out of reach for the Indians. Newberry was able to cut the lead to ten with just over two minutes in regulation, but that would be as close as they would get.
Newberry had four players in double figures on the night. Indian leading scorer Michael Dease (Bennettsville, S.C.) scored 14 of his 20 in the second half. Elijah Frasier (Irmo, S.C.) finished with ten points in the contest and Tymere Zimmerman (Bennettsville, S.C.) had 11.
Tusculum point guard Donald Sexton (Oneida, Tenn.) scored 12 and dished a game-high six assists on the night, while Farus finished with 16. Pioneer guard Greg McIntosh (Indianapolis, Ind.) notched 14 markers and four assists on the night.
Up next for the Indians is Senior Night at Eleazer Arena, as Lenoir-Rhyne comes calling Wednesday evening for an 8 p.m. tipoff. Tusculum hosts SAC rival Presbyterian on Wednesday at 8 p.m.