FULTON – A.J. Sharp was 0-for-8 in the first half and did not score. Noah McCarty was 1-for-4 with four points.
In the second half, the Newman duo was much more dynamic, combining for 31 of the Comets' 38 points in their 58-48 Three Rivers North win over Fulton on Friday night at Stan Borgman Court.
McCarty, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound sophomore, was the focal point of Newman's attack in the second half. He hit his first five shots, was 6-for-7 from the field, and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in scoring his 17 second-half points. He scored a 21 in all.
"The first half, I struggled. I was forcing my shots," McCarty said. "Second half, I felt like I needed to step up and help our team to win. A lot of credit goes to the people who were passing the ball to me. That's how I get my points."
Sharp was just 2-for-13 from the floor, but hit 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Sharp scored all of his 14 points in the second half, 10 in the fourth quarter.
Clinging to a 39-38 edge with just over 6 minutes to play, Newman (15-0, 3-0) used a 9-1 tear to go up 48-39 with 3:22 left and put the Steamers on the ropes.
Fulton (12-4, 2-1) sliced the margin to four twice in the final moments.
First, when Zach Barber, who was held to 12 points coming off a 37-point performance, drained a 3-pointer to make it 48-44 with 1:34 remaining. Another Barber 3 made it 52-48 with 30 seconds left.
Newman scored the game's last six points from the foul line.
"They were doing a lot of doubling off screens and not letting me get any open looks," Barber said. "We played pretty good. I think later in the year, we'll be able to hang with them and maybe come out with the win."
"I thought we freaked out a little bit at the start of the game," Comets coach Ray Sharp said. "We got out of control a little bit. We had an advantage in the post. We had to make sure we were working hard to get it there."
The Steamers started strong, jumping in front 14-6 in the opening minutes, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Matt Dail, who scored 12 points, and one from Barber.
Fulton led 14-9 after one quarter and 22-20 after a defensive struggle of a first half.
Newman took its first lead since 2-0 on a McCarty tip-in that made it 24-23 with 5:36 left in the third quarter.
The Steamers took their last lead with the next bucket off a shot by Dail from the left wing at 3:54 of the third quarter.
The Comets led 35-32 heading to the fourth quarter.
McCarty added 14 rebounds, four steals and two blocks for Newman, which got six points apiece from Trevor Bolin, Nate Terveer and Micah Trancoso. Terveer pulled down 10 boards.
Fulton's Kyle Huebner scored nine of his 11 points in the second half.
"We knew it was going to be this type of game," Steamers coach R.J. Coffey said. "When we play them again, it's going to be a battle then too. I was very happy with our defense. Usually it's the opposite, but they made it hard on our shooters."
Newman 58, Fulton 48
Star of the game: Noah McCarty, Newman, game-high 21 points, 17 in 2nd half
Key performers: A.J. Sharp, Newman, 14 points, 10 in 4th quarter; Zach Barber & Matt Dail, Fulton, 12 points apiece
Up next: Erie at Newman, 7:30 Tuesday; Amboy at Fulton, 7:30 Tuesday