NEWBERRY, S.C. - The fourth-seeded Newberry Wolves jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead and cruised to an 85-70 win over fifth-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne in the quarterfinals of the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament in Eleazer Arena on Wednesday evening.
With the win, Newberry moves to 16-11 overall and advances to the tournament semifinals against top-seeded and nationally-ranked Anderson. The matchup between the league's two Palmetto State schools will take place at noon Saturday at Catawba Valley Community College's Tarlton Center in Hickory, N.C
The scarlet and gray advance to the tournament semifinals for just the fourth time in their 15th season in the league. With the women's squad's victory over Tusculum, this will mark only the second year that both basketball teams advanced to the league's final four, with the other occurrence coming in 2009.
Quayshun Hawkins (Columbia, S.C.) led the Wolves with 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists as five Newberry players scored in double digits. Aegir Steinarsson (Reykjavik, Iceland) scored 13 points with four assists, Shamel Akins (Charlotte, N.C.) scored 12 points, Savad Garner (Fountain Inn, S.C.) netted 11 points and Dondray Walker (Fountain Inn, S.C.) scored 10.
For the Bears - who end their season at 12-16 - BJ Beasley had 13 points, Kevin Davis and Jarrick Brown scored 11 points each and Jon Hathcock scored 10 markers as L-R finishes the season on a five-game losing streak.
The Wolves were hosting SAC Tournament quarterfinal play for just the third time in the program's history and came out on fire, nailing 10 three-pointers in the first half alone. The game was tight early and the hosts only led by three with just over eight minutes left in the half before going on an 11-2 run that was fueled by three consecutive three-pointers to jump out to a 33-21 lead with 5:30 left in the period.
Newberry made its final five three-point attempts of the half, and a Walker layup inside the final minute gave the Wolves a 43-28 halftime advantage. Newberry held sizeable statistical advantages, shooting 48.5% (16-of-33) from the floor and making 10-of-18 (55.6%) three-point attempts. Newberry held an 18-14 rebounding edge with 10 offensive rebounds and had assists on 14 of the 16 made baskets. L-R shot 41.7% (10-of-24) from the floor by contrast.
The early portions of the second half were more of the same, as Newberry pushed the lead out to 22 points less than four minutes in on an Akins three-ball from the corner.
L-R cut the lead to 16 points at 63;47 with 12:21 to play on a pair of Davis free throws, but the Wolves went on a 9-0 run highlighted by a steal and breakaway layup from Byron Dickerson (Atlanta, Ga.) and a three-point play from Akins to make it a 25-point game at 74-49 with 10 minutes to play. That was Newberry's largest lead of the contest.
The Bears tried to claw their way back into the game from the charity stripe but could only manage to cut the lead down to 14 points as the Wolves earned the win. Both teams were 14-of-29 (48.3%) and made two three-pointers and 12 free throws in the second half, as the 15-point margin from the half was the same at the end of the game.
Broadcast information for the Food Lion SAC Tournament semifinals will be available Thursday.