ANDERSON, S.C. – Senior guard CJ Gleaton’s driving left-handed layup with 5.4 seconds remaining in overtime lifted Anderson to an 85-83 win past previously unbeaten and league-leading Newberry in South Atlantic Conference men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon at the Abney Athletic Center.
“We found a way,” said Anderson head coach Jason Taylor. “It was not pretty, but I am proud our team. They are a resilient bunch and we just have to keep plugging away.”
Anderson (6-2, 3-2 SAC) erased a 19-point second-half deficit and claimed its sixth consecutive win past Newberry (6-1, 4-1 SAC), while halting the Wolves’ season-opening win streak at six.
“The difference was turnovers in the second half,” Taylor said of his team that committed 14 first-half miscues and seven in the final 25 minutes of action.”
Senior Chandler Hash led all scorers with 30 points on the afternoon, including 23 in the second half and overtime. The 6-foot guard was 12-of-13 from the free throw line and connected on four straight in overtime. Junior guard Myson Jones tallied 18 points and dished out a game-high five assists, while going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line. Gleaton finished with 14 points after going scoreless in the opening 20 minutes and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. He also swiped three steals. Redshirt junior center Chris Ross notched 13 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes of action, with guard DJ McGowan adding eight points and eight boards off the bench.
Freshman guard Gerald Evans led a balanced Newberry attack with 21 points. Junior forward Dondray Walker scored 18 points, with Demarkus Smith chipping in 12 and Brunes Charles scoring 10 points.
Playing their second overtime contest in as many games, the Trojans misfired on their first six field goal attempts and were just 2-of-9 from the field in the opening minutes. The Wolves capitalized on the cold shooting by jumping out to a 6-2 edge before Anderson countered with Ross sandwiching a short jumper and a slam around a deep 3-pointer by Jones that gave the Trojans their largest lead in regulation, at 9-6, with 14:30 left in the opening frame. AU would not lead again until the opening seconds of overtime, as Hash opened the frame with a pair of free throws.
With Newberry holding a 16-15 edge midway through the first half, the Wolves posted a 16-1 run over the next 7:39 to double up the Trojans, at 32-16, with a little more than two minutes remaining in the opening half. Newberry maintained the double-digit advantage, taking a 38-27 lead into intermission.
The Wolves carried the momentum into the second frame, scorching the nets from long range with four consecutive 3-pointers to build a 50-33 cushion three minutes into the half. Gleaton slowed the outburst with a traditional three-point play, but Newberry’s Xavier Holmes dropped in a layup and freshman Cole Birchfield added another trey, giving the visitors a 55-36 lead with 14:38 on the clock.
Anderson senior forward Kyle Sledge then ignited a 16-2 outburst by the Trojans by dropping in his lone basket of the afternoon. Gleaton followed with a steal and a layup, with Hash adding a 3-pointer and Gleaton again stealing a pass and finding Ross for the layup and a foul with an ensuing free throw. Jones added four free throws and Hash capped the run with a steal and layup, trimming the Wolves’ advantage to just 57-52 with just less than 11 minutes on the clock.
Newberry quickly rebuilt its lead back to nine over the next four minutes, but AU refused to go away quietly, as Hash sparked an 8-1 surge with an old-fashioned three-point play and added another trey, while McGowan and Gleaton added two points apiece to knot the score at 66-66 with less than three minutes left.
Smith and Walker quickly answered for the Wolves, giving NC a four-point edge with 42.7 ticks left, before Hash countered with a 3-pointer from deep on the right side. The Trojans then sent Evans to the line where the 5-foot-5 freshman sank two free throws with 27.7 seconds on the clock to boost Newberry’s lead back to three. The Trojans inbounded the ball and with time winding down, Hash gathered in a pass from Ross following his offensive rebound and drained a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with 4.3 seconds on the clock to even the score at 72-72 and send the game to overtime.
Hash hit two free throws to open the scoring in the extra frame to give Anderson its first lead since the 14:30 mark of the first half, and while the score was knotted four times in overtime, the Wolves were unable to regain the lead.
With AU clinging to an 83-81 lead, Newberry’s Evans nailed a pair of free throws with 15.1 seconds on the clock, setting up Gleaton’s final heroics before Birchfield misfired on a potential game-winner at the buzzer.
Following an eight-day layoff, the Trojans begin a stretch of three consecutive nonconference contests by traveling to Georgia College on Monday, Dec. 16.