NEWBERRY, S.C. – Mars Hill's men's basketball team lost to Newberry 98-85 Wednesday night in Eleazer Arena. The Lions fell to 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Wolves improved to 6-4 on the season, 2-3 in the league.
Bennett Wilson and Justin Hartfield led the Lions with 18 points apiece. Indiana Rotondo recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, both career highs for Rotondo as a Lion. Makyle Wilkerson came off the bench to almost notch a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Those numbers were also career highs for Wilkerson in a Mars Hill uniform. Valentin Bauer dished out 10 assists along with six markers.
Marshall Lange and James Stepp led the Wolves offensively scoring 23 and 20 points in the contest, respectively. D.J. Copeland followed with 19 points and eight rebounds. Newberry edged the Lions on the boards, 43-41.
The first half was closely played evident by seven lead changes and five ties in the first 20 minutes of play. After the game was knotted at 19-all at the 10:42 mark, the Wolves scored eight unanswered points to take a 27-19 lead with 9:56 left in the first frame after Lamell Washington scored inside. The Lions went on an 8-2 run to cut the Wolves' lead to two points (29-27) with 6:14 left in the opening half after Rotondo nailed a three-pointer. Newberry answered with a 13-4 run over the next three minutes to push their lead back to 11 points (42-31) when Rob Valentine hit a shot from behind the arc with 3:42 left in the first period. The Lions then outscored the Wolves 17-4 to pull back within two points (48-46) after Luke Van-Rijn hit a three-pointer with eight seconds left in the first stanza. Lange took the ensuing in-bounds pass and sank a half-court shot to make the score 51-46 in favor of the Wolves at the break.
Newberry opened the second half on an 11-2 run to enjoy a 14-point advantage (62-48) with 16:42 left in the game. Newberry took their biggest lead of 17 points (69-52) in the contest at the 14:45 mark when Luke Gibson hit a three-pointer. The Lions would not die and outscored the Wolves 29-15 over the next 10 minutes to trim the Wolves lead to just three points (84-81) with 4:04 left in regulation after Bauer hit a layup. Newberry answered the call again scoring three unanswered baskets that sealed the win giving the Wolves a nine point lead (90-81) with 1:45 left in the game. The Lions were forced to foul down the stretch and Newberry converted on all six attempts at the free throw line to obtain the 13-point victory.
Mars Hill will play at SAC foe Queens University on Saturday, December 17. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.