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Chowan shows firepower

MURFREESBORO – No one needed remind the Chowan University Hawks that there’s no place like home: the men’s basketball team was glad to return to Murfreesboro’s Jesse Helms Center for a pair of games — and they began with a 77-60 rout Saturday afternoon of Allen University of Columbia, South Carolina, upping the Hawks’ record on the season to 6-9.

Junior Montino Williams, making his first start at home this season, scored a career-high 26 points, with 20 from Trayvon Lathan while Jaleel Nelson chipped in 12.

&uot;Last year we were the only undefeated team in North Carolina during the month of January, said fifth-year coach Jim Tribbett.&uot;We think this home stand will get our momentum going&uot;.

The Hawks started this contest with plenty of momentum, as they sprinted out to a 14-3 lead and held a double-digit margin for much of the first eight minutes of the game thanks to strong rebounding over the shorter Yellow Jackets. 

Allen got back in the contest when the Hawks’ Marcus Artis picked up his third foul at the nine-minute mark and in the next two minutes Allen erased a nine-point Chowan lead to pull within one with under six minutes to play.

A John Doctor jumper gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the afternoon.  Later Allen’s Darrin Goodwin, who tallied 11 points in the first-half, would pick up his third foul and Chowan closed the half making five of six free throws to take a 35-29 lead into the locker-room at halftime.

Chowan was up by as much as 10 points opening the second half before Hawks’ turnovers allowed the Yellow Jackets to get back in the contest, and Allen trimmed the lead to one-point, 49-48, on a Hiram Carolina dunk.

But that’s when Chowan turned up the heat – and the defense – and outscored the Jackets, 15-4 in the next seven minutes as they allowed their Palmetto state opponents just one field goal and a pair of free throws during that stretch.

Tribbett cleared his bench with every Hawks that was suited up getting a chance to play and Chowan coasted to the 77-60 final.

&uot;We had a hard week of practice,&uot; said Lathan, &uot;and we feel like this month we really need to step it up&uot;.

The Chesapeake, Virginia senior’s 20 points gave him 1,762 for his career and 33 points away from becoming Chowan’s all-time leading scorer.

&uot;One thing we had to key on,&uot; said Williams, &uot;was our rebounding (the Hawks out-boarded the Jackets, 39-22).  We knew they were going to be quick so we had to use our size and our strength which was one of the things we knew we had going for us.&uot;

&uot;We might have the strongest Division-II schedule on the east coast,&uot; added Tribbett. &uot;We’ve already played ECU and High Point (two Division-I teams), we’ve played Mt. Olive and Millersville (West Virginia) twice — both top-20 teams – and we beat Barton (ranked 12th in the country in Division-II at the time) on the road. 

“We think this home stand will give us continuity, build the identity of this team and help us move forward with the season,&uot; the coach closed

Chowan (77): M. Williams - 26, T. Lathan - 20, J. Nelson - 12, L. Morrison - 6, M. Artis - 5, W. Hambrick - 5, D. Poole - 2, R. Ramsey - 1

Allen (60): Darrin Goodwin - 15, John Doctor - 14, Michael Gamble - 13, B. Littlejohn - 8, M. Wimberly - 4, H. Carolina - 3, K. Rodriguez - 2, E. Lilley - 1