NEWBERRY, S.C. - Wednesday night's battle between Newberry and Catawba was one for the ages, but it was the visitors from North Carolina who emerged with the 107-103 double overtime victory. Newberry's Clemente Martin (Freeport, Bahamas) scored his 1,000th career point in the second half.
Newberry (10-12, 4-7 South Atlantic Conference) was led by Martin's 27 point effort, but also received key contributions from senior Cory Etheridge (Columbia, S.C.). Etheridge netted a season-high 24 points, and his 28-foot buzzer-beater sent the game into the extra frames.
Stephane Bakinde (Yaounde, Cameroon) added his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 boards. Grant Domsic (Winter Garden, Fla.) scored 14 points, while Kendrick Johnson (Orangeburg, S.C.) tied a career high with 10 points to round out the double-digit scorers for Newberry.
Catawba (12-10, 4-6 SAC) was led by Norman Monroe's 35-point, 16-rebound double-double. Monroe was 14-of-17 from the floor in 44 minutes of playing time. Antonio Houston also scored 25 points for the Catawba Indians.
Rob Fields scored 17 points while nailing all eight of his free throw chances, with Isaac Rose also scoring 17.
Newberry led by as many as 11 points late in the first half and took a six point advantage into the locker room with a 41-35 lead. Monroe scored 17 points in the opening frame to keep the guests within striking distance.
Catawba erased the deficit quickly, scoring the first seven points out of the break to tak a 42-41 lead with 18:33 left in regulation. The visitors extended the lead to 52-47, but Martin single-handedly went on a six-point run - which encompassed his 1,000th point - to narrow the deficit to one.
As the teams battled back and forth, Catawba pulled ahead by nine points with 2:25 to play after a series of missed shots by Newberry. The 78-69 advantage was Catawba's largest lead of the game.
However, Catawba's missed free throws in the final minute gave the hosts a chance to come back late. Etheridge nailed three triples in the final 17 seconds of the game, including the contested long-distance buzzer beater to tie the game for the fifth time and go to OT.
Each team scored seven points in the first overtime. Etheridge stole the ball away from Monroe with under three seconds on the clock, but the desperation shot at the buzzer missed, extending the game by another five minutes.
Houston scored the first points of the second extra period, giving Catawba a two-point advantage, but an Etheridge three-pointer and buckets in the paint from Martin pushed Newberry ahead by five with 2:34 left.
But Catawba punded the offensive glass to narrow the Newberry lead to oen, and took the lead on a Houston lay-in following a steal. A missed Newberry three-pointer and subsequent foul put Catawba on the line, but Dominick Reid only made one of his opportunities from the charity stripe, keeping the lead at two.
With Newberry needing only one bucket to tie the game late, Houston sealed the win for the guests, stripping the ball away from Etheridge and sinking both free throw attempts with less than two seconds on the clock.
The lights in the Eleazer Arena scoreboard hadn't shown triple digits for either side in a men's game since Newberry's 101-81 win over Wingate on January 17, 2004. It was the first time both teams in a Newberry game had broken the century mark since the Indians' 117-103 loss at Mars Hill on December 4, 1995.
Newberry now sits in sixth place in the South Atlantic Conference standings following Mars Hill's 20-point win over Lincoln Memorial. Catawba and MHC are each 4-6 in the league and tied for fourth, while Newberry is a half-game back at 4-7. The top four seeds at the end of the season host the first round of the Food Lion SAC Tournament.
Catawba and Mars Hill play on Saturday, while Newberry takes a step out of SAC play, going to Lees-McRae for a 2 p.m. tip Saturday.