Indians squeak by Claflin, 57-54, to end losing skid
Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | by Chandler scores 22 in victory to bring Indians back to .500

ORANGEBURG, S.C. - The Newberry College men's basketball team took advantage of late giveaways  by the Claflin University Panthers to escape with a 57-54 victory in non-conference action here Wednesday night.

The Indians (7-7 overall) never led by more than three points in the game and were held to 23 first half points - their lowest point total in a half this season - but followed the lead of senior guard Zach Chandler (Greenville, S.C.) who scored 22 points for Newberry to lead all scorers.

With the win, Newberry halted its season-long losing streak at three games, but the decision wasn't always a lock for the Indians as Claflin (6-10 overall) failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities to seal a Panther victory.

The Indians trailed by three with 17.6 seconds remaining, when Chandler sank two free throws to narrow the deficit to one. The Panthers were in position to seal a win, as they had the double bonus, but the ensuing inbounds play went out of bounds without touching anyone, giving possession back to Newberry.

The ball didn't make it inbounds from the Indians before Chandler was fouled by Russell Stewart. Chandler sank both ends of the one-and-one opportunity to give Newberry a one point lead.

Claflin post Casey Jackson was fouled with less than eight seconds left, giving the Panthers two chances to tie or take the lead. But both chances went to waste, as Jackson missed the rim with the first shot and hit the right rim with the second shot. Newberry's Matt Alexander (Atlanta, Ga.) came down with the rebound and was immediately fouled. He sank both shots to give Newberry the 57-54 advantage with 6.3 ticks on the clock.

Jerome Starr led the Panthers with 20 points on the night, but his desperation three-pointer failed to connect, giving Newberry the win.

Terrance Spillers (Charleston, S.C.) recorded the highest rebounding total of any South Atlantic Conference player this season, grabbing 16 boards, including nine in the first half. The Indians outrebounded the Panthers by a 37-33 margin.

Chandler was the only Newberry player in double figures.

Newberry resumes conference play on Saturday afternoon, as the Indians travel to Greeneville, Tenn. to face off against the Pioneers of Tusculum College. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m.