Hawks knock off Lincoln

Published 12:05 pm Saturday, November 28, 2009

MURFREESBORO – This was one to be thankful for.

Chowan’s men’s basketball team ran their record in this – their first season in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association – to 2-1 Monday night at the Helms Center following an 80-71 win over Lincoln University.

The team rebounded from their first loss of the season last Saturday against Bowie State by placing five players in double figures led by senior forward Lando Morrison, who shot 8-for-11 including two spectacular slam dunks, for his first double-double of the year. The Yorktown, Virginia native finished with 21 points and 18 rebounds.

Fellow senior Jaleel Nelson had 14 points and three steals before leaving the game with less than four minutes to play with an ankle injury. Junior Charles Rhodes had 13 points and six rebounds, while newcomer Anton Shoetan had 12 points and sophomore Mark Brown tossed in 10.

“We played Chowan basketball,” said eighth-year coach Jim Tribbett. “We certainly don’t want to play a half-court game, but we also don’t want to play a race-horse game. We want to play with rhythm.”

You could call it ‘rhythm-and-blues’ for Lincoln. The Lions (0-3, 0-2,CIAA), who once scored an NCAA Division-III record 201 points in a game, shot just under 36 percent for the game and were outrebounded by the shorter Hawks, 45-33. Lincoln also averages 24 three-pointers a game and were held to just 7-of-26 from beyond the arc thanks to Chowan’s defense.

“Defensively I thought we were really solid,” added Tribbett, “because they’re a really difficult team to guard.”

Chowan opened the game on an 8-0 run and so frustrated the Lions with their match-up zone defense that Lincoln didn’t score until the 13:36 mark of the half when they hit back-to-back three-pointers.

The first trey must have helped the Lions settle their offense, because they made 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to tie it at 12-12, then later took their first lead of the game, 19-17, on a three-point play just past the halfway point of the first half.

But Chowan reeled off 14 in a row to take a 31-19 lead at the 6:30 mark thanks to, among other things a pair of three-pointers from Shoetan and another from junior forward Layth Mansour.

However, the Lions came roaring back and with a Damien Hyman jumper at the buzzer only trailed by three, 36-33, at the break.

Lincoln opened the second half with a dunk to get within one, but that was as close as the Lions would ever come the rest of the game.

Chowan led 43-39 two and a half minutes in before Morrison grabbed a missed Rhodes lay-up and smashed it through the net to bring the crowd to its feet. Two possessions later, Nelson got a steal and fed it ahead to Morrison who once again rattled the rim with a thunder dunk to push Chowan’s lead to eight.

The lead was nine, 67-58, after a Rhodes jumper when Nelson got tangled up with a Lions player coming upcourt and went to the floor grimacing in pain and holding his ankle. He was helped off the court and did not return.

The lead was ten, 70-60, after a Brown lay-up with two and a half left before Lincoln made their final push. A 7-2 Lions run got it to 72-67 with under a minute to play, however they had no time outs left and were forced to foul. Chowan made 8-of-10 free throws and despite the Lions coming within four points the Hawks held off the comeback for the nine-point win.

“We didn’t want to start off 0-4 like last year,” said Morrison afterward “In addition to our off-season work we know we’ve got good shooters and we’re making our free throws.”

“We try to emphasize rebounding,” said Rhodes, “We knew they had size, but with them shooting all those threes it made for some long rebounds and I think we did a pretty good job.”

“Some guys make one pass and then they shoot,” said Brown. “We’re not trying to beat them at their own game, but by playing defense we force them to change their offense and maybe make three passes.

“We can’t just fire up a shot,” he added, “because a bad shot will turn into a lay-up for them on the other end and we can’t afford that this year.”

Chowan was off the rest of the week and will resume CIAA play Monday night at the Helms Center against Virginia Union. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.