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Sutton's career high boosts Pioneers to 61-47 win at Newberry

Maddie Sutton scored a career-high 19 points in the win over Newberry
Maddie Sutton scored a career-high 19 points in the win over Newberry

NEWBERRY, S.C. --- Maddie Sutton scored a career-high 19 points and Mia Long scored 13 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter as Tusculum University defeated Newberry College 61-47 in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action Saturday afternoon at Eleazer Arena.

Sydney Wilson added 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting for the Pioneers (7-2, 2-1 SAC), who have won back-to-back visits to Eleazer Arena for the first time since 2007 and 2008. The Tusculum defense held the Wolves (4-4, 1-2 SAC) to 27.3 percent shooting and just one field goal in the third quarter as the Pioneers turned a 19-19 halftime tie into an 11-point lead entering the fourth quarter. At one point, Newberry missed 20 consecutive shot attempts from the field spanning nearly 15 minutes of game action.

Sutton was 5-for-8 from the field, including a three-pointer, and a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line to surpass her previous high of 16 points set against Georgia College on Nov. 15. Sutton also had a team-high eight rebounds for the Pioneers, who put the game away in the fourth quarter by going 11-for-16 from the foul line.

Talia Roberts led Newberry off the bench with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, but she was the only player to reach double figures in the game for the Wolves. Newberry was 15-for-55 from the field and 6-for-26 from three-point range, but outrebounded Tusculum 42-29 including 19 offensive rebounds.

Tusculum took a quick 5-0 lead on a jumper by Wilson and a three-pointer by Jalia Arnwine, but baskets by Newberry's Kelsey Brett and Dragana Petkovska cut the lead to 5-4 with 7:08 left in the first quarter. The Pioneers then went on an 8-2 run to go ahead 13-6 following a jumper by Brianna Dixon with 3:31 left in the quarter, but the Wolves would score the final eight points of the period as Tusculum missed its final five shots from the field.

Newberry's 14-13 lead after one quarter would swell to 19-13 following a basket by Petkovska with 4:52 left in the half. The Pioneers, who were 0-for-5 from the field with three turnovers to open the quarter, finally broke the Wolves' 13-0 run on a layup by Wilson with 4:32 left in the half. It was then the Wolves' turn to go dry, missing their final six shots from the field and turning the ball over three times as Tusculum came back to tie the game at 19-19 at halftime.

Wilson led the Pioneers with six points in the first half as Tusculum shot 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) from the field and 1-for-10 from three-point range. The Pioneers went 4-for-4 at the foul line as a team, and were led on the boards by Sutton and Jasmine Williams with three rebounds apiece. Petkovska and Courtney Virgo shared the team lead with six points apiece in the first half, with Brett and Petkovska claiming four rebounds each. The Wolves shot 34.8 percent (8-for-23) from the field and 3-for-12 from the three-point arc, while missing both free-throw attempts.

Tusculum's defense took over in the third quarter, as Newberry missed its first 14 shot attempts before Mylaysia Gates converted a three-point play with 21 seconds left in the period. On offense, the Pioneers outscored the Wolves 17-6 in the third quarter, including nine from Sutton as she hit 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 from the foul line. Newberry also finished with eight turnovers in the third quarter as Tusculum took a 36-25 lead into the final quarter.

The Pioneers went up 38-25 on a layup by Long early in the fourth, but Roberts hit a three-pointer and converted a three-point play on back-to-back trips as the Wolves cut the deficit to 38-31 with 8:26 to go. Baskets by Sutton and Long put Tusculum back on top 44-35 with 6:58 left, but the Pioneers would go scoreless for the next two minutes as the Wolves cut the margin to 44-39 on two free throws by Keli Romas, who was averaging a team-high 14.0 points per game but was held to just those two free throws while missing all five of her field-goal attempts in the game. The Pioneers found some breathing room on two free throws by Sutton with 4:57 left and a three-point play by Long with 3:59 to play, and Sutton added another basket and two more free throws as Tusculum outscored Newberry 12-5 over the final three minutes.

Tusculum forced Newberry into 28 turnovers in the game, scoring 29 points off the Wolves' miscues. The Pioneers had 18 turnovers as a team, but Newberry could manage just 15 points. The Pioneers outscored the Wolves 28-14 on points in the paint, while the Newberry bench finished with a 27-8 edge in scoring over Tusculum. Williams had a season-high four blocked shots in 14 minutes off the bench for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 18 against UVa-Wise at Pioneer Arena, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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