NEWBERRY, S.C. – The Lions' men's basketball team lost to Newberry 111-99 on the road Monday night at Eleazer Arena. Mars Hill fell to 2-13 overall and 0-8 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Wolves improved to 8-6 on the year, 3-4 in the SAC.
Bennett Wilson scored 24 points and added five assists, three rebounds and three steals to lead the Lions. Nassyr Daniel followed with 12 rebounds to go along with eight points and three blocks. Vernon Jackson tallied 19 points while Luke Van-Rijn recorded 17 markers. Jackson and Van-Rijn pulled down seven rebounds apiece in the contest. MHU hit 52.6% (40-76) of their field goals, 31.3% (5-16) of their three-point attempts and 70% (14-20) of their free throws. The Lions scored 64 of their points in the paint.
Rob Valentine led all scorers with 26 points to pace the Wolves. Marshall Lange followed with 23 points while James Stepp and Max Miller contributed 15 points each in the win. The Wolves edged the Lions on the boards, 46-42. Newberry made 44.9% (35-78) of their shots from the floor, 35.7% (15-42) from behind the arc and 65% (26-40) at the foul line. The Wolves scored 23 points off Lion miscues and received 76 points from their bench.
Mars Hill jumped out to an early 4-0 lead (18:13) after Jackson nailed a pair of free throws. The Wolves answered with a 12-4 run to obtain a 12-10 advantage at the 14:46 mark and they would never trail again. Newberry outscored the Lions 33-16 during the ensuing seven minutes of play (6:44) to lead by 19 points (45-26) after Nick Dietrich hit a three-pointer. The Wolves held a 55-42 lead at the break.
The Lions started the second frame on a 13-5 run to trim the deficit to just five points (60-55) with 15:32 left in the contest after Wilson scored inside. However, Newberry countered by outscoring Mars Hill 11-2 to go ahead by 14 points (71-57) with 12:46 left in regulation after Stepp hit a foul shot. A basket by Austin Gilyard with 1:40 left in the game trimmed the Wolves lead to 10 points (105-95) but that would be as close as the Lions would get.
Mars Hill will continue their three-game road stretch this week playing at Anderson on Wednesday, January 10. Tip-off in the Abney Athletic Center is slated for 8 p.m.