NEWBERRY, S.C. --- Donovan Donaldson matched a career-high with 32 points while Caleb Hodnett added a career-best 27 as the Tusculum University men's basketball team overcame a 14-point second half deficit to win in double-overtime, 96-91 at Newberry College Saturday afternoon at Eleazer Arena in South Atlantic Conference action.
The Pioneers (10-11, 6-7 SAC) snap a three-game losing streak and complete the season-sweep over the Wolves (7-13, 3-10 SAC) for the first time since the 2009-2010 campaign. TU also ends a seven-year skid at Newberry winning for the first time since Mar. 2, 2011.
Twelve days ago, Tusculum erased a 13-point deficit en route to a 91-81 overtime win over the Wolves in Greeneville. With Saturday's win, Tusculum improves to a perfect 3-0 in overtime games, all coming in the past two weeks. The Pioneers' 14-point rally Saturday is tied for the fourth largest comeback in the last 20 years.
Donaldson equals the career-best 32 markers in posted in last month's 80-77 overtime win at Wingate.
Hodnett scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half as his layup with 14 seconds remaining in regulation knotted the contest at 78-78 and send the game into overtime. Hodnett's bucket capped a 12-2 run in the final four minutes of regulation as TU eradicated two 14-point deficits in the final seven-and-half minutes.
Trailing 76-66 with 4:44 remaining, the Pioneers scored 10 straight including two free throws each by Hodnett and Tariq Jenkins, a three-pointer by Trenton Gibson and a triple from Donaldson with 1:12 left to tie the game at 76-76. Newberry's Marquis Collins made two free throws with 33 seconds remaining before Hodnett's bucket to send the game into extra time.
Newberry's Marshall Lange opened the first overtime with a basket before Donaldson got a layup and two free throws as Tusculum led 82-80 with 2:42 on the clock for TU's first lead since early in the first half.
Luke Gibson drained a three-pointer to retake the lead at 83-82 seven seconds later. Tusculum missed on its next trip down the floor, but Dillon Smith came up with a steal and Donaldson converted his sixth straight point with a jumper as Tusculum led 84-83 with 1:40 on the scoreboard.
Newberry's Angelo Sales, Jr. got a tip-in and was fouled on the play with 53 seconds left. He made the free throw for the three-point play as the Wolves led 86-84.
With 34 seconds remaining Donaldson stepped out of bounds turning the ball over to Newberry. Sales was fouled as he made one of two free throws as Newberry led 87-84 with 29 seconds left. Hodnett was fouled going to the bucket and he made his two foul shots to trim the deficit to one (87-86).
Newberry's Omari Wilson scored a layup with 10 seconds left to extend the lead to 87-84. Donaldson answered his fifth trey of the game with 3.6 seconds remaining to tie the game at 87-87. The Wolves got off a three-point try for the win but the shot was blocked by Donaldson sending the game to a second overtime period.
Smith came up with a steal and a basket to start the second extra frame. Both teams would show some fatigue over the next three minutes as TU missed its next five shots, while Newberry went 0-for-7 for the second OT frame along with 2-of-6 shooting at the free throw line.
Jenkins made a key basket with his layup with 36 seconds left for a 93-90 lead for the visitors. The Wolves got off two shots on its next trip up the floor as Wilson was fouled on a third tip with 15 seconds left. But he would miss the first free throw and make the second as TU led 93-91.
Smith was fouled with nine seconds remaining as he made the critical free throws to make it a two-possession game (95-91). Lange would miss his three-point try and Hodnett came down with the rebound as he made one of two free throws to seal the victory.
Newberry out-shot (44.3%-42%) and out-rebounded (56-37) the Pioneers, but the TU defense forced 30 turnovers on a season-high 18 steals, the third-most thefts in Tusculum history.
Donaldson went 11-of-26 from the floor, 5-of-13 from three-point land and 5-of-7 at the charity stripe. He also grabbed five rebounds and posted two steals and two blocked shots.
Hodnett went 10-of-16 from the field, 6-of-8 at the foul line, hauled down nine rebounds and posted a career-best five steals. Trenton Gibson added 12 points and a season-best seven assists, while Mitchell recorded seven points, nine boards and two blocked shots.
Newberry's bench accounted for 61 of the team's 91 points including 21 markers from Luke Gibson who buried six 3-pointers, while Sales tallied a double-double of 19 points and 19 rebounds.
The Pioneers will return to action next Saturday as they travel to nationally-ranked and SAC front-runner Queens University of Charlotte for a 4 p.m. contest.