|February 28, 2009||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||NEWM||LMU-M|
|FG Percentage||.450 (27-60)||.404 (21-52)|
|3P FG Percentage||.556 (5-9)||.529 (9-17)|
|FT Percentage||.609 (14-23)||.545 (18-33)|
Johnson - 8
Armstrong - 1
Johnson - 1
Bogard - 1
Joseph - 1
Johnson - 1
HARROGATE, Tenn. - The Newberry College men's basketball team held on through a tight second half for a 73-69 victory over Lincoln Memorial University in the regular season finale at Tex Turner Arena on Saturday night.
Newberry (20-7, 10-6 South Atlantic Conference) clinched its first 20-win season since 1981-82 with the win, and will host a first round game in the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference for the first time in program history, likely as the second seed in the tournament. Official seedings and pairings will be released Sunday. The 10 conference wins is also a new program record, supplanting the eight wins by the 1999-2000 and 2003-04 teams.
Clemente Martin (Freeport, Bahamas) led all scorers with 21 points to go with a game-high eight rebounds. Vytautas Valiulis (Vilnius, Lithuania) and Grant Domsic (Winter Garden, Fla.) each scored 12 points, while Brett Goodwell (Inglewood, Calif.) chipped in with 10 points in limited playing time.
Lincoln Memorial (14-13, 8-8 SAC) was paced by Stuart Miller's 17 points and Desmond Johnson's 16 points. D'Mario Curry and Brandon Armstrong each scored 12 points for the Railsplitters.
The scarlet and gray opened up the game by scoring eight of the game's first 10 points, taking an 8-2 lead at the 16:46 mark on a dunk-and-one three point play from Martin. An Alexander layup on the next trip down the floor put Newberry up by a 10-2 margin to give the visitors their largest lead of the first half.
But the Railsplitters rebounded back by scoring the game's next 12 points, swinging it to a 14-10 LMU lead at the 11:46 mark. From there, neither squad could extend a lead in the back and forth game to more than four points. After a four-point play from LMU's Brandon Armstrong gave the hosts a 30-28 lead late in the half, Newberry's Jesse Wheeler (Suwanee, Ga.) appeared to tie the game going into the locker room with a deep two-pointer.
However, LMU senior Wadner Joseph put the 'Splitters up on a long distance buzzer-beater from beyond halfcourt to give the hosts a 33-30 halftime advantage. LMU held a 23-14 advantage on the boards at the break. Valiulis led Newberry scorers at halftime with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers.
The two sides traded buckets to open the second half, and LMU took its largest lead of the game at six points when Miller connected on a trifecta 1:07 into the half. But the scarlet and gray answered with a 7-0 run capped by a steal and three-point play from Martin that gave Newberry its first lead of the second period at 39-38 with 17:25 to play.
A Domsic three-pointer with 11:41 to play put Newberry ahead by six, which was the largest second half lead at that point. LMU cut the lead down to one point before a 7-2 run by the scarlet and gray went back up by six after a pair of putbacks down low from Brett Goodwell. Goodwell had been held scoreless in the first half and found early foul trouble in both halves, but was impressive in the post, scoring eight points down the stretch while in foul trouble, including six in a row before fouling out with 10 points and six rebounds in only 10 minutes on the court.
The lead was cut to two points on an Armstrong basket with 4:41 to play, but Newberry extended the lead back to six points on a Domsic triple with 2:38 left. LMU would not go away quietly however, cutting the margin to two points with 42 seconds on the clock. Martin sank two free throws late to hold on for the win.
LMU was 18-of-33 (54.5%) from the charity stripe, leaving Newberry chances to keep the lead. Newberry was 14-of-23 from the line for a 60.9% success rate. Newberry was 27-of-60 from the field (45.0%) and scored 27 points off of 20 LMU turnovers.
Newberry will now prepare for the first ever men's Food Lion SAC Tournament game to be played in Eleazer Arena. Tipoff for the second half of the doubleheader is set for approximately 8 p.m. on Wednesday. After applying the tie-breaker scenarios, the opponent will likely be the Mars Hill Lions, although the official announcement will not be made until tomorrow.