NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Lenoir-Rhyne Bears extended a one-point halftime lead to as many as 17 points down the stretch to defeat Newberry College, 75-62, in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action here Saturday.
Newberry falls to 5-8 overall and 0-4 in SAC play, losing its third game straight. Lenoir-Rhyne jumps to 10-3 overall and 3-0 in the conference.
The Indians were led by three players who scored 14 points apiece. Clemente Martin (Freeport, Bahamas), Vytautas Valiulis (Vilnius, Lithuania) and Grant Domsic (Winter Garden, Fla.) tied for the team high. Stephane Bakinde (Yaounde, Cameroon) led the team with six rebounds and was one four players who scored five points.
Sophomore forward Kendrick Johnson (Orangeburg, S.C.) tied his own school record for blocked shots in a game, as he diverted six L-R shots from their intended target.
Elliott McDowell scored 15 points to lead four Bears in double digits. Josh Kindred earned a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. D.J. Blackmon and Reggie Bratton each chipped in with 10 points.
For the second straight game, the Indians stormed out of the gates offensively, with a quick 10 points on layups from Martin and triple from Bakinde and Matt Alexander (Atlanta, Ga.) giving Newberry an early 10-6 lead. Lenoir-Rhyne came back on an 10-4 run to give the Bears their first lead of the game at 18-14 with 7:16 until the break. The Bears pushed ahead by as many as five points, but Newberry narrowed the deficit to 31-30 at halftime.
However, the Bears' hot shooting in the second half combined with a slow start from the Indians would combine to provide L-R its fifth straight win in the series.
L-R began the second half on an 18-8 run to go up by 11 points on a McDowell trifecta with 12:38 left in the game. Newberry chipped away at the lead, with Domsic's only six points of the half and a fast break layup from Valiulis narrowing the deficit to six points at 57-51 with 7:43 left.
However, the guests quickly reversed the swing with an 11-0 run over the next 3:24 to put the game out of reach. The 17-point lead was the Bears' largest of the game. The visitors shot a scorching 55.2 percent from the field on 16-of-29 shooting in the second stanza. Lenoir-Rhyne also became only the second team this season to out-rebound the Indians, holding a 40-33 advantage on the glass.
Newberry will look to halt its losing streak next Wednesday with its longest road trip of the season, traveling the 248 miles to Harrogate, Tenn., for an 8 p.m. tip at Lincoln Memorial University. Lenoir-Rhyne hosts Mars Hill at the same time.