ROCK HILL, S.C. - The South Atlantic Conference office has released the official pairings for the 2008 Food Lion SAC Men's Basketball Tournament. Newberry College has earned the seventh seed and will travel to second seed Wingate University for an 8 p.m. tipoff Wednesday.
Newberry (12-15, 5-9 SAC) lost both matchups with Wingate (22-5, 12-2 SAC) by three points this season. Wingate shares the regular season SAC title with Lenoir-Rhyne. The teams split their two regular-season meetings, and both teams swept third-place Carson-Newman. Lenoir-Rhyne earned the tournament's top seed by sweeping fourth-place Catawba, while Wingate split their series with Catawba.
On December 5, Stephane Bakinde (Yaounde, Cameroon) led the Indians with 26 points, while Clemente Martin (Freeport, Bahamas) added 21 points in an 86-83 loss to the Bulldogs in Cuddy Arena, the site of Wednesday's first round game. Vytautas Valiulis (Vilnius, Lithuania) earned a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Senior guard/forward Sean Barnette (Rock Hill, S.C.) led the Wingate attack with 25 points and 14 rebounds. 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.
On February 23, Martin led the Indians with 18 points in a 78-75 loss to the Bulldogs in Eleazer Arena. Valiulis scored 13 points for Newberry, while Cory Etheridge (Columbia, S.C.) 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. Wingate had solid performances from Grier and Barnette. Grier led all players with 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Barnette earned a double-double 16 points and 10 boards.
In other tournament matchups, Lenoir-Rhyne (21-5 overall, 12-2 SAC) will host eighth-seed Lincoln Memorial University (8-19 overall, 1-13 SAC) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Carson-Newman College is the third seed after finishing 8-6 in the conference and 18-6 overall. The Eagles will host sixth-seed Mars Hill College (12-15 overall, 5-9 SAC) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Mars Hill and Newberry finished tied with 5-9 conference records and split their regular-season meetings. Mars Hill earned the sixth seed by virtue of its season-ending victory over top-seed Lenoir-Rhyne.
Catawba College captured the fourth seed and the final quarterfinal home court game with a 7-7 conference record (16-11 overall). The Indians will host fifth-seed Tusculum College (13-14 overall, 6-8 SAC) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Quarterfinal winners advance to the tournament semifinals, which will be held at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, N.C. on Saturday.
Tickets for all tournament games are $6 per day for adults, $3 per day for children, students and college students with ID.
The menís and womenís winners of the tournament will earn automatic bids to the NCAA Division II playoffs.
2008 Food Lion SAC Men's Basketball Tournament Schedule
Wednesday, March 5
Food Lion SAC Tournament, Quarterfinals, Home of Higher Seed
No. 8 Lincoln Memorial at No. 1 Lenoir-Rhyne, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Newberry at No. 2 Wingate, 8 p.m.
No. 6 Mars Hill at No. 3 Carson-Newman, 8 p.m.
No. 5 Tusculum at No. 4 Catawba, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 8
Food Lion SAC Tournament, Semifinals, CVCC Arena, Hickory, N.C.
Lincoln Memorial/Lenoir-Rhyne winner vs. Tusculum/Catawba winner, 1 p.m.
Newberry/Wingate winner vs. Mars Hill/Carson-Newman winner, 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 9
Food Lion SAC Tournament, Finals, CVCC Arena, Hickory, N.C.
Championship, 2 p.m.