NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (4-3, 0-1 SAC) fell to Newberry (2-5, 1-2 SAC) by a score of 92-83 in their South Atlantic Conference season opener on the road Saturday evening.
Newberry opened the game on a 5-0 run and scored seven of the first 10 points. Mars Hill would pull within two at the 3:57 mark of the first half, but the Wolves answered with five straight points to build up a seven point lead.
The Wolves would lead for the duration of the contest with Mars Hill clawing back from each deficit, including three other separate times in the first half where they would pull within two points. The first came with 8:32 left in the first when Ja'Shawn Brooks hit a three-pointer to reduce the Wolves' lead to 23-21. Over a minute and half later, Brooks hit another three-pointer to bring the score to 26-24 in favor of Newberry. Lastly, with 2:32 left in the half, Brooks once again rallied the Mars Hill offense to within two, but Newberry went on a 6-2 run to close out the half, leading 40-34.
Brooks led the Lions with 16 points in the first half and added four rebounds. Austin Gilyard scored seven points in eight minutes. For the Wolves, Omari Wilson, Marshall Lange and Marquis Collins each scored seven points in the half.
After keeping the deficit in single digits for the first several minutes of the second half, the Wolves would pad their lead to 62-50 off of a Luke Gibson three-pointer an the 8:22 mark of the half. They would go up by as many as 18 points and maintain the double-digit lead until the final two minutes of the contest. In the final 1:22, Mars Hill, led by Brooks' eight points, would go on a 12-5 run to pull within nine in the final moments.
Gibson led the Wolves with 15 points in the second half, shooting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He led the team with 21 points. Angelo Sales, Jr. added 10 points in the half and ended the game with 13 points and 13 rebounds for the double-double.
Brooks matched his first half totals with 16 points and four rebounds. He ended the contest with a career-high 32 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Javonte Cook, in his Mars Hill debut, scored nine points in the second half and finished the game with 11 points. Gilyard scored 15 points.
Mars Hill returns to action on Saturday, December 8th when they host Coker in their SAC home opener. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.