Bulldogs ride strong defense to 11th straight win
2/1/2017 | Men's Basketball | Box Score
Wingate, N.C.----The Wingate University Bulldogs piled up a season-high 11 blocked shots Wednesday night, including three big ones in the final minute en route to an 85-77 victory over Newberry College in South Atlantic Conference men's basketball action in Cuddy Arena. Wingate wins its 11th straight, improving to 14-7 overall and 11-4 in the conference. Newberry falls to 12-9 overall and 7-8 in league play. The Bulldogs have won 11 straight, the longest winning streak since the 'Dogs reeled off 13 consecutive victories to start the 2000-01 season.
"I thought we won tonight with our defense," head coach Brian Good says. "Our guys did a great job of sticking to the defensive game plan. We had some unbelievable defensive plays down stretch to close out the game. I thought our bench was really important, got us through some first-half foul trouble. We had some guys come off the bench and allow us to stay in the game in the first half."
Senior forward Josh Dominguez (Matthews, N.C.) had 19 points, six rebounds and three blocks to lead the Wingate attack, going eight-for-13 from the field. Sophomore guard Mike Baez (Orlando, Fla.) added 16 points and 13 rebounds, hitting eight-of-eight shots from the free throw line. Senior guard Anthanee Doyle (Holly Springs, N.C.) contributed 14 points, while junior guard Zeriq Lolar (Orlando, Fla.) had 12 points, hitting 10-of-10 shots from the free throw line.
James Stepp had 16 points to lead the Newberry attack, adding three steals. Mason Spease and Marshall Lange added 12 points each for the Wolves.
A Doyle triple gave the Bulldogs an early 11-4 lead, but Wingate went the next 6:50 without a field goal, with Newberry taking a 20-15 lead on a Stepp triple. A Baez three and Camari Wilkerson (Glen Burnie, Md.) bucket tied it at 20, but a Lange bucket put the Wolves back on top with 4:56 to go.
Four Lolar free throws gave Wingate the lead with 4:20 remaining, but two Xavier Hill buckets gave the Wolves a 34-31 advantage in the final minute. Lolar answered with two free throws then added a layup in the final seconds to give Wingate a 35-34 advantage.
A Three-point play from Doyle gave Wingate a six-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half. A Christopher Camper layup cut the lead to one, but buckets from Doyle and Lee McCall (Indian Land, S.C.) stretched the lead back to five. Spease got Newberry back within one at the 14:04 mark, but buckets from Cureton and Wilkerson made it 54-49 with 12:17 to go. Stepp buried a pair of triples to tie it at 56 at the midway point. Lange followed with back-to-back layups, capping a 7-0 run to give Newberry a 60-56 advantage.
Sikander Nielsen buried a triple at the 7:46 mark to make it 65-60. Doyle answered with a pair of threes to get the 'Dogs within a point, while Cureton put Wingate back on top with a bucket at the 6:07 mark. A Dominguez layup and two Baez free throws pushed the lead to four with 2:49 to go, but two free throws from Spease made it a two-point game with 1:33 to go. Newberry had a chance to tie it with a minute to go, but Cureton blocked a Stepp layup. After a turnover, Dominguez blocked a Spease layup, while two Baez free throws gave Wingate a four-point lead with 31 seconds left. Cureton blocked a Lange layup on the other end, while Lolar and Baez went four-for-four at the free throw line to make the final margin 85-77.
The Bulldogs shot 45.6 percent from the field, hitting six-of-22 shots from three-point range (27.3 percent). Newberry shot 38.9 percent from the field, going five-for-26 from beyond the arc (38.9 percent). The Wolves entered the contest leading the nation with 14.8 made threes per game, while ranking fifth with 94.9 points per contest. Wingate held a 42-41 rebounding advantage, while Newberry held a 46-38 edge in points in the paint and 17-13 advantage in second-chance points. The Wolves converted 25 Wingate turnovers into 26 points. The Bulldogs committed 17 turnovers in the first half, but just eight in the second half.
Wingate is back in action Saturday, traveling to Lincoln Memorial to face the No. 21 Railsplitters at 2 p.m. on American Sports Network as the NCAA Division II Game of the Week.