Junior forward TJ Brown scored 25 points as Newberry upset the No. 4 Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters. LMU came into the game ranked second in the D2SIDA poll, and fourth in the NABC Coaches Poll. The Wolves earned their first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 20 Carson-Newman on Dec. 2, 2017.
Lincoln Memorial opened the game with a 9-0 run over the first 3:01. Junior forward QuanDaveon McCollum ended the early scoring drought with a layup. McCollum finished the game with 21 points, reaching the 20-point mark for the fifth time this year, and fourth game in a row.
Lincoln Memorial led for most of the first half and were up 31-25 with 5:15 to play in the opening 20 minutes. Brown then went on his own 7-0 scoring run, nailing a 3-pointer, and making two back-to-back layups which gave Newberry a 32-31 lead with 4:23 to play.
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In the final minutes of the half, Newberry began to pull away a bit. They went on a 5-0 run in the closing 0:49, which began with a layup from sophomore guard Andrew Robinson. Junior forward Kyle Tierney was sent to the free throw line with only a three-tenths of a second remaining and his squad leading 36-34. He made the first free throw, but after missing the second, he exploded toward the rim untouched and tipped in a layup as time expired, sending Newberry into halftime leading 39-34.
The Wolves never trailed in the second half. The Railsplitters hung around though, cutting their deficit down to one point on six separate occasions in the second half, and tying the game up twice before the final horn.
Junior guard Robin Bedford helped give his team their biggest lead of the game by knocking down a jumper from the elbow and splashing a 3-pointer shortly after. His scoring burst thrust Newberry to a 59-50 lead with 8:33 to play.
Just 3:08 before the final buzzer, the Railsplitters stormed back after Bedford's 3-pointer with a 14-5 run lasting 5:25. A Lincoln Memorial 3-pointer tied the game up 64-64. Brown responded by converting a pair of clutch free throws, putting the Wolves back up 66-64.
Lincoln Memorial was able to knot the game up 66-66 with 1:57 to play. On the next possession, freshman center Malakhi Stremlow snatched an offensive rebound and went back up strong to the rim, giving Newberry a 68-66 lead, and they would not relinquish it.
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Robinson made both his free throws and McCollum went 1-2 at the line in the closing seconds as Lincoln Memorial fouled in an effort to stay alive. However, the Wolves proved superior and were able to dribble out the last few seconds of the game and hold on for the impressive 71-66 win. Newberry's defense was terrific all game long, forcing 16 Railsplitter turnovers and recording four steals.
As the final buzzer rang victorious for Newberry, head coach Jason Taylor celebrated their huge win and sprinted into the locker room after derailing the No. 4 team in Division II basketball.
- The Wolves earned their first win over a ranked opponent in 1,169 days (Dec. 2, 2017).
- Saturday's win snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Railsplitters and was Newberry's first home-win against LMU since 2010.
- McCollum is averaging 23.5 points per game since Jan. 20.
- Newberry has outscored or tied Lincoln Memorial in three of four quarters this season.
- The Wolves were very opportunistic, scoring 18 points off Railsplitter turnovers and converting 12 second-chance points.
- Stremlow had ten boards for the second-consecutive game.
- The Wolves dominated inside with 40 points in the paint and out-rebounded LMU 39-34.
Newberry looks to carry their momentum into their matchup with Catawba College on Monday, February 15 at 8 p.m.