NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College men's basketball team dropped a 63-54 decision to the visiting Lenoir-Rhyne College Bears in South Atlantic Conference action here Wednesday night.
Newberry (11-10, 5-6 SAC) was led by 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench from Clemente Martin (Freeport, Bahamas).
Lenoir-Rhyne was paced by Reggie Bratton's 15 points to move to 15-6 overall and 9-2 in the conference.
The Bears started the game with a 9-0 run and held the Indians without a field goal until Eric Nwawel (Cameroon) tipped in a missed free throw by Cory Etheridge (Columbia, S.C.) with 14:19 until the break.
But Nwawel's bucket got the offense rolling, as the Indians proceeded to go on a 12-0 run in just three-and-a-half minutes, taking a 12-9 lead with 11:45 before the half on a layup by Martin.
The back and forth swings contined with a 10-0 Lenoir-Rhyne surge capped by a Jonathan Cook triple to make it 19-12 with 8:31 before the break.
By the half, the Indians narrowed the deficit to two points with a breakaway layup by Terrance Spillers (Charleston, S.C.) on an assist from Tommy Burke (Newberry, S.C.) with 30 seconds left to make it 26-24 in the Bears' favor after 20 minutes.
The guests extended their advantage quickly, opening the second stanza with a 5-0 run, of which three came on a Bratton three-point play.
The scarlet and gray came back on a 9-2 rush, with a three-pointer by Zach Chandler (Greenville, S.C.) tying the game at 32-all with 16:28 to go.
However, L-R took the lead for good on a pair of Donte Watson free throws with 14:23 to play, as the Indians' shots just wouldn't fall down the stretch.
Despite the loss, the Indians still had a better shooting percentage than their opponents, with Newberry shooting .370 and Lenoir-Rhyne shooting .360 from the field. But the Bears nailed 23-of-29 chances from the charity stripe to ensure they stayed atop the conference table.
The Indians' Danny Friend (Atlanta, Ga.) tied a career-high with 10 points, while six assists from Matt Alexander (Norcross, Ga.) also tied a career best.
Newberry hits the road, as the Indians take on conference foe Catawba on Saturday. Tipoff at Goodman Gym in Salisbury, N.C. is set for 4 p.m.