WINGATE, N.C. - The Newberry College men's basketball team battled tough in what turned out to be an 86-83 loss at the hands of the Wingate University Bulldogs in the South Atlantic Conference opener for both teams.
Newberry (3-4, 0-1 SAC) falls under .500 for the first time this season despite a season-high 26 point performance from Stephane Bakinde (Yaounde, Cameroon).
Newberry’s Stephane Bakinde (Yoaunde, Cameroon) led the way with 26 points. Clemente Martin (Freeport, Bahamas) chipped in with 21 points for the Indians. Vytautas Valiulis (Vilnius, Lithuania) had 12 points and 10 assists. Freshman guard Grant Domsic (Winter Garden, Fla.) added 11 points for the Newberry.
Senior guard/forward Sean Barnette (Rock Hill, S.C.) led the Wingate attack with 25 points and 14 rebounds. The SAC Player of the Week scored 20 of his points in the second half. Sophomore guard Brandon Plummer (Norfolk, Va.) added 19 points. Redshirt senior forward Bryan Grier (Charlotte, N.C.) had 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Bulldogs. Senior guard Sam Holmes (Danville, Va.) had a team-high five assists.
Newberry methodically built the lead in the first half, taking a 20-10 lead on a jumper from Bakinde. Wingate trimmed it to four on a lay-up from Rosco Turner (Lexington, N.C.).
The Indians built the lead back to nine on a three pointer from Valiulis. A Plummer three pointer cut the lead back to four with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
The Bulldogs closed the half on a 9-3 run, capped by a three-point play from Barnette to go into halftime with the score tied at 35. Wingate shot 47 percent from the field, while going 1-of-11 from three point range. Newberry shot 35 percent from the floor, while going 5-of-15 from beyond the arc.
Bakinde scored the first five points of the second half, giving the Indians a 40-35 lead. Wingate answered, getting three pointers from Plummer, Ernest Mangum (New London, N.C.) and Barnette to take the lead. Newberry responded and stretched the lead to 56-50 on a lay-up from Matt Alexander (Atlanta, Ga.) with 14:27 remaining.
Wingate scored eight of the next 10 points to tie the game at 58 on a lay-up from Grier. Newberry again extended the lead to six on a Bakinde lay-up with 8:33 remaining. Wingate answered with a 14-4 run to take a 74-70 lead with 4:07 remaining. Barnette had eight points in the stretch.
Bakinde again responded, hitting a jumper and a free throw to cut the lead to one with just over three minutes left. Grier responded on the other end with a lay-up. Newberry again had the answer, getting a bucket from Martin to cut it to one with 2:50 left in the game.
A Newberry intentional foul led to two Barnette free throws, he hit two more later in the possession to give the Bulldogs an 80-75 lead. Newberry again had the answer, with Martin hitting a pair of free throws, then getting a steal and a dunk to cut the lead back to two points with 34.6 seconds remaining. Plummer and DeMario Mattox (Rocky Mount, Va.) made five free throws down the stretch to notch the 86-83 win.
Wingate shot 46 percent from the field in the game, while going 4-19 from three point range. The Indians shot 43 percent from the field, while going 9-23 from beyond the arc. Newberry held a 43-41 advantage on the glass. Newberry converted 16 Wingate turnovers into 24 points. The Bulldogs converted 16 turnovers into 11 points.
Newberry returns to action Saturday at 4 p.m. in Greenwood agains Lander.