Newberry’s season ends at SAC Tournament
JEFFERSON CITY, TENN. – The shots would not fall for the Wolves as their season came to a close with a 102-82 loss to mighty Carson-Newman in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 South Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.
Third-seeded Carson-Newman’s stanch defense limited Newberry’s key contributors with Rob Valentine garnering a team-high 14 points.
Valentine concluded his standout senior campaign accumulating 554 points and connecting from beyond the arc 109 times this season. His 109 treys set a Newberry record for made three-pointers in a single season, with his 10 at Bob Jones on Nov. 14 setting another school record for most made during a singular game.
Three-pointers continued to be the Wolves’ specialty this season with the team consistently leading all of Division II in made treys with an average of 14.1 per game. Newberry also ranked at the top in a number of statistical categories including sixth in steals and eleventh in overall scoring offense. Individually, Valentine held the fourth spot in made three-point field goals per game with 3.86.
Throughout the season, Newberry had five meetings against nationally-ranked opponents. The Wolves handed No. 23 Carson-Newman their first loss of the year 75-70 at Eleazer Arena, and gave then-No. 4 Lincoln Memorial and No. 2 Queens a scare with their frenetic offense.
Despite their success against powerhouse teams, another dramatic victory was not in the cards for the Wolves at Holt Fieldhouse.
Three other Wolves ended the night in double figures as Marshall Lange tallied 12 while senior Quaman Burton and Jabrie Bullard each had 10 apiece. Burton had a well-rounded performance adding in seven rebounds and five assists.
Max Miller came close to a double-double with eight points and eight boards.
Despite falling behind early in the first half, offensive woes for the Eagles allowed Newberry to mount a comeback with an 8-0 run to whittle away at the Carson-Newman lead in the closing minutes of the half. A layup from Valentine put the Wolves within three, 47-44, the closest they had been since the opening seconds. The Eagles’ superstar Charles Clark hit a dagger at the buzzer to put Carson-Newman up 50-44 headed into intermission.
Newberry returned from the break with a vengeance with seniors James Stepp and Xavier Hill nailing back-to-back threes to knot it up at 50 apiece after a Wolves’ 6-0 steak. Those were the pairs biggest shots of the night with Stepp finishing with six points while Hill notched eight.
Both teams matched each other shot-for-shot in the ensuing minutes but Carson-Newman held the 59-55 edge heading into the 16-minute media timeout. A couple of double-digit runs combined with the Eagles shooting a 62.5 percent clip from beyond the arc ended the Wolves’ hopes for another postseason game.
Newberry prolonged their possessions with 20 offensive rebounds compared to 14 from the Eagles which led to 20 second chance points for the Wolves. Carson-Newman won the battle on the defensive side doubling the Wolves’ board 34-17.
Charles Clark led the Eagles with 29 points, leading a group of five players in double figures. Clark was closely followed by Shaun Jones who collected a double-double on the night with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
The Wolves conclude the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 15-14 and 9-12 in league action.
Newberry Athletics contributed to the writing of this article.