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Chowan makes it two in a row

MURFREESBORO – Chowan men’s basketball player Joe Brice says his teammates call him &uot;Sniper.”

And the rifleman came through Monday night with a three-point bank shot as time expired in regulation to send the game into overtime and help propel the Hawks to their second win of their three-game home stand, 85-78, over Mars Hill College at the Helms Center before a raucous crowd of over 340 fans. 

&uot;I got that nickname because I make all my shots in practice,&uot; said a grinning Brice after the win – Chowan’s sixth of the year and second in a row over the Pride this season.  &uot;I guess it paid off tonight, ’cause I just threw it up there and it went in.&uot;

Pay off seemed an understatement after the Hawks, who had lead by as many as 10 at one point in the game, but allowed the visitors from Asheville to creep back into the contest, outscored Mars Hill 16-9 in the extra period to pull off the victory.

Four Hawks scored in double-figures led by sophomore Jaleel Nelson with a season-high 27 points. Nelson also added six rebounds, a pair of steals and one key blocked shot. 

Aaron Scott added 17 points, with 14 from Layth Monsour, and 11 for Chris Kenon. Jamarl Glen led three Mars Hill players in double-figure scoring with 21.

Unlike their first meeting, the consolation game of the Catawba Classic in Salisbury back on December 1, where the Hawks took a 74-61 win, this contest was much tighter throughout.

The crowd was silenced midway through the half when sophomore pivotman, Lando Morrison went airborne over the back of a defender looking for a put-back of a missed shot and landed awkwardly on the floor head-first. 

Morrison left the floor and would not return for the rest of the game as a precautionary move, but it left Chowan thin on the front-line for the rest of the game, as they also found themselves without swingman, Raul Tutelea, who sprained an ankle and also sat out the final 26 minutes of the contest.

The Pride took advantage, trimming away at a 10-point lead to trail by six at halftime, 34-28.

The second half found more of a run-and-shoot contest with Mars Hill able to keep pace and never letting Chowan mount a lead of more than six points midway thorough the contest.  At the eight-minute mark, Glen made a lay-up in the lane and the Pride trailed by two for the third time in the half.  

Mars Hill took the lead for the first time with under seven minutes remaining and Chowan never went back in front the rest of the frame, though several key baskets by Nelson and Scott forced ties down to the four-minute mark when a short 6-0 run by Mars Hill thanks to a pair of buckets by Glen had the Pride up by six, 66-60.

Free throws by Scott and Kenon pulled Chowan within two and then Mansour made a basket with 21 seconds left to tie the game at 66.

But on the ensuing possession, Jordan Skinner drove the lane and was fouled as he put up a short jumper that kissed softly off the glass before dropping in and the free-throw gave the Pride the lead of 69-66 with just seven seconds left. 

That’s when coach Jim Tribbett inserted Brice and the Mooresville junior’s heroics helped save the game.  Kenon took the inbounds pass, dribbled into the front court and found Price just beyond the arc on the wing not being defended. He fired a pass to him and Brice let fly the shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

After tying the game early in the overtime period, Chowan took command with a Mansour free-throw and jump shot and went on to post the win. The Hawks raise their record to 6-8 before beginning a three-game road trip Thursday.

&uot;The biggest thing I like is that we’re going on this trip having won two close games against quality opponents,” Tribbett said. 

&uot;It just means everybody has to step up,&uot; said Scott of the road swing which begins at Virginia Union in Richmond.

&uot;We’re 2-0 against the CIAA,&uot; added Nelson, &uot;and we want to make it 3-0.&uot;

Chowan returns to the Helms Center on January 22 when they host another CIAA opponent in Elizabeth City State.  Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.