MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill men's basketball team (7-11, 2-9 SAC) was downed by Newberry (7-11, 3-8) Saturday evening inside of Stanford Arena by a score of 100-91.
The Wolves relied on their stellar three-point shooting throughout the contest to leap ahead the Lions in the South Atlantic Conference standings. In the second half of play, the Wolves shot over 64 percent from beyond the arc with Tai Giger's three leading the way.
Mars Hill entered the second half down 44-39 and scored the opening basket to cut the lead down to three off of a Javonte Cook dunk. Less than two minutes into the half, a Justen Hartfield three-pointer tied the contest at 46, but 12 seconds later, Omari Wilson answered back with a three-pointer of his own. The basket was a catalyst for an 8-0 run.
With 15:25 remaining in the contest, the Wolves extended their lead to double-digits with an Angelo Sales, Jr. layup. While the Lions would continue to answer back against the Wolves fast-paced offense, Newberry maintained the 10-point advantage until the 9:07 mark of the half. An Austin Stone layup spurred the Lions on to a 6-0 run to pull within four with under 10 minutes left in the game.
Late in the contest, Mars Hill rallied from down 90-81 to pull within two points with 1:21 remaining. A Lions' turnover led to Luke Gibson basket that began an 8-2 run in the final minute of play. Two late free throws for the Wolves pushed them to the 100-point mark and seal the victory with a nine-point advantage.
Tied at eight after the first 6:17 of the first half, the teams traded the lead three times before Mars Hill maintained the advantage off of two made Dotsin Griffin free throws. The Lions would go up 22-17 with 10:51 played before Newberry scored seven unanswered to go up 24-22 with 7:04 left in the half.
With 2:31 left in the half, Mars Hill trailed 41-32, but rallied to score five straight and seven of the next 10 points to pull within five before the buzzer sounded to end the first half.
Sales, Jr. led all players in the first half with 16 points, shooting 6-of-7 from floor. Mars Hill's Ja'Shawn Brooks had 12 points after the opening 20 minutes. Both players led their respective teams with Sales, Jr. ending the contest with 23 points while Brooks led all players with 24. Sales, Jr. also collected a game-high 11 rebounds for the double-double.
Mars Hill hosts Southern Wesleyan in non-conference play Wednesday evening inside Stanford Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.