The Lady Vikings opened the Southern Athletic Association action at the Cage Center by posting a 66-63 win in overtime. The Berry men followed with an explosive 85-78 victory that featured Mac Whalen pouring in a career-high 31 points.
In the women’s game, Berry surrendered a double-digit lead in the second half, but regained the momentum in overtime to pull out the win and snap a three-game losing streak.
The Lady Vikings improved to 5-6 overall and 2-1 in the SAA matchups.
Berry had three players reach double figures: Former Coosa star Mel McLean and Tara Mullinax each scored 16 points and Chanlir Segarra had 15.
In the men’s game, Whalen’s huge effort enabled Berry to break a three-game losing skid and earn the program’s first-ever SAA victory.
Berry is now 3-9 overall and 1-2 in SAA play. Hendrix drops to 5-9 and 0-3.
Whalen nailed seven of his eight field goal attempts in the first half, including all three three-point shots, as Berry walked to the locker room at halftime with an 11-point advantage. Overall Whalen also added seven assists and five rebounds. Jonathan Abrams tallied 18 points and seven assists. Jake Wright added 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Jaren Riley led four Hendrix players in double figures with 23 points. Colton Primm, Luke Vance and Drew Nikolovski chipped in 18, 12 and 10 points respectively.
"I think the biggest thing that we talked about coming into the game was defending Jaren Riley," said Berry Head Coach Jeff Haarlow. "He had 23 points, but by halftime he hadn’t taken a field goal. Lee McCloud and Hunter Smoak did a great job on him defensively. He scored his points at the end of the game, but for 37 minutes we did an awfully good job on a really good player."
Haarlow pointed to the team’s 20 to 9 assist to turnover ratio as another factor in the team’s success.
"When you share the ball and end up with 20 assists, you’re going to score a lot," Haarlow said.
Berry will return to action on the road against Covenant College on Thursday at 8 p.m.
"It’s a tough, tough place to win," said Haarlow of Covenant’s Barnes PE Center. "We’ll have to play well."