NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College Indians have made last second dramatics a regular occurence in Eleazer Arena, as their last three home games have been decided on the last Newberry possession. However, Saturday's tangle with the Wingate Bulldogs saw the Indians come out on the wrong end of the scoreboard as a last-chance shot rimmed out to give Wingate a 78-75 win.
Newberry (11-14, 4-9 SAC) was paced by 18 points from Clemente Martin (Freeport, Bahamas), but foul trouble played a large part in the loss, with four Indians seeing limited time in the second half as they finished with four fouls.
Wingate (20-5, 10-2 SAC) had solid performances from Bryan Grier and Sean Barnette. Grier led all players with 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Barnette earned a double-double 16 points and 10 boards.
The Bulldogs jumped out quickly, using an early 12-0 run to take an 18-7 lead with 14:07 left in the first half. But it took less than five minutes for Newberry to tie the game back up.
A 17-6 surge was capped by a thunderous putback dunk from Martin after Matt Alexander (Atlanta, Ga.) missed a three. Newberry took the lead on an Alexander free throw and a Cory Etheridge (Columbia, S.C.) triple.
Newberry pushed the lead ahead to as many as seven in the first half and appeared poised to take that advantage into the break, but a three-pointer by Rosco Turner beat the buzzer, making it 41-37 in Newberry's favor at the half.
A jumper in the paint by Vytautas Valiulis (Vilnius, Lithuania) gave the Indians their largest lead of the game at 49-40 with 18:07 to play, but the Bulldogs' 14-5 run tied the game at 54-all with 13:37 left.
Over the next five minutes, Wingate would pull ahead slightly, with Newberry reeling the guests back in with clutch shots. However, DeMario Mattox's jumper in the paint with 6:55 to play gave WU the lead for good.
But Newberry would not go away quietly, and held their visitors without a point in the final 3:38 of the game when a Grier dunk gave Wingate an 8-point advantage. An Alexander free throw, a Stephane Bakinde (Yaounde, Cameroon) layup and a Valiulis layup cut the lead to three points inside the final minute.
The Indians forced the Bulldogs into a turnover, giving them a chance to tie the game late, but a Grant Domsic (Winter Garden, Fla.) triple from the corner rimmed out and the comeback fell short.
Valiulis scored 13 points for Newberry, while Etheridge scored 12. Keith Marshall (St. Stephen, S.C.) netted a career-best 10 points. Bakinde scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds to fall just short of a double-double.
Brandon Plummer's 13 points and Mattox's 11 rounded out the Wingate players in double digits.
The Indians return to action Wednesday at 8 p.m. with a road game at Brevard. Newberry will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, March 1 against Lincoln Memorial.