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Braves rout St. Pauls

MURFREESBORO – Chowan College got started the right way – with a win.

The Braves rolled over visiting St. Paul’s College 85-68 in their season-opener at the Helms Center here Tuesday night.

The Braves jumped out to an early 17-4 lead and never looked back, using a stingy defense and solid average of 77 percent from the free throw line to secure a 1-0 start to the season.

&uot;A win is a win and any opening night win is a good one,&uot; coach Jim Tribbett said. &uot;Our free throw shooting tonight was outstanding, which will be huge for us later.

&uot;I felt pretty good about us defensively,&uot; he added. &uot;We were able to dig in and get some transition buckets off of it. It also helped us get to the free throw line more.&uot;

Antonio Hargrove put the Tigers up 2-0 with less than a minute gone from the clock, but it would be one of only two baskets for St. Paul’s in the first eight minutes of play.

Meanwhile, the Braves were pulling away.

Roderick Ramsay got the Braves on the board with 19:09 to play and was followed seconds later by an Isaac McCall layup.

After Montino Williams buried a triple and layup back-to-back, Chowan was up 9-2 with 17:54 to go in the first half.

Trayvon Lathan, the game’s leading scorer with 23 points, hit a pair of free throws to make it 11-2 before Hargrove finally scored again for St. Pauls.

After that score, McCall made 1-of-2 from the line followed by a three-pointer from Williams. Williams added a pair of free throws to put the Braves up by 13 (17-4) with 14:24 to play in the first half.

A Jon Dyer layup made it 19-6, coming behind a pair of Tiger free throws.

Williams buried a trey followed by a pair of shots by Dyer at the charity stripe to give Chowan a 24-8 advantage.

St. Pauls rallied to get to within 31-22 with 6:18 to play in the first half, but the Braves pulled away again.

Lathan started the spurt with a dunk which he followed with a pair of free throws. Ramsey added a layup and successive dunks and the Braves were back ahead 41-22.

Jamaal Conley stopped the run with a jumper, but was answered with a three-pointer from Chris Kenon the made it 44-24 with 2:50 to play.

A pair of free throws by Kenon late in the half helped the Braves claim a 46-28 halftime edge.

The lead stayed at or near 20 points for the opening five minutes of the second half until Shahumaad Jones twice followed by a layup from Bruce Royal to cut the advantage to 58-43 with 14:55 to play

Tristan Jones added a layup a minute later to trim the lead again (58-45).

The Braves came alive after that buckets, scoring 14 of the next 18 points to grab a 71-49 advantage.

Wayne Hambrick started the spurt with a bucket at the 13:41 mark and was followed by a free throw from Lathan and a bucket from the same player. Hambrick’s successive hoops made it 71-49.

Chowan kept the big working margin throughout the remainder of the contest.

&uot;This was our first Division II game in school history and we won it,&uot; Tribbett said. &uot;It was a good win. We are not where we need to be yet, but with this team, I feel good about our chances to get wins this season.&uot;

The Braves were led by Lathan with 23 points on a 7-of-17 shooting performance. Three others were also in double figures including Montino Williams (18 points), Isaac McCall (10 points) and Roderick Ramsay (10 points).

The equal distribution of scoring was also good news to Tribbett.

&uot;We shared the basketball well and that was really important,&uot; he said. &uot;We were able to break their press well and get some quality shots.&uot;

The Braves will now travel to Mount Olive for a weekend tournament. They open the Pickle Classic with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke at 6 p.m. Friday night.

(Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Sports Writer David Friedman contributed to this story.)

Chowan (85): Trayvon Lathan – 23, Montino Williams – 18, Roderick Ramsay – 10, Isaac McCall – 10, W. Hambrick – 9, C. Kenon – 5, J. Dyer – 5, M. Artis – 3, G. Miller – 2, T. Winstead, R. Sullivan, F . Tolley, C. Owens

St. Pauls (68): Antonio Hargrove – 17, Shahumaad Jones – 12, Bruce Royal – 11, Tristan Rankin – 11, M. Mitchell – 6, M. Boatwright – 5, J. Conley – 2, K. Hammond – 2, F. Studevant – 2, O. Shands