Virginia Union blows by Chowan

Published 4:25 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

MURFREESBORO – Eight games in 17 days will wear any team down.

And perhaps it was Father Time catching up to the Chowan men’s basketball team as they were defeated by Virginia Union University Saturday evening at the Helms Center, 96-44.

Deandre Turner and Charles Rhodes were the double-figure scoring bright spots for the Hawks in this lop-sided contest; scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Braxton Byerson led five Panther players in double figures with 25, 17 coming in the first half.

“I never expected this,” said exasperated first-year coach Dan DeRose as the stunned look on his face seemed to mirror his search for an answer. “I thought we were prepared, but they came out on fire and they shot the ball extremely well, the best we’ve seen anybody shoot all year.

“We just have trouble facing adversity,” he added, “and when you’re not shooting the ball well as we are and you can’t stay in it to where you can keep yourself mentally into it then that takes a lot out of you.”

Union came out running almost from the jump-ball to open the game. Chowan tied it at 2-2 in the opening minute, but from there the Panthers ran and shot their way to a 16-3 lead and the Hawks were just in too deep a hole too early.

From the 13-point deficit, Rhodes and Tyree helped try and shoot the Hawks back into it. The two combined for eight of Chowan’s next 10 points and twice the Hawks got the lead down to 10 points, the final time coming right at the 10-minute mark, 23-13, on a layup by Mark McGlone.

But the Panthers made three three-pointers on four straight possessions and had the lead up to 20 with seven-and-a-half minutes until the break.

With two-and-a-half to go the lead grew to over 30 as Chowan seemed to just fumble away the ball allowing Union to score 22 points off 14 Hawk turnovers.

They doubled Chowan’s scoring effort in the lane, accounting for 24 points to a dozen for the Hawks.

The bench was not much solace either, amassing just two points to nearly 20 (19) for the Panther reserves. Trailing by 37 with under a minute until halftime, the Hawks staved off a 40-point deficit with a Tyree layup at the buzzer to only trail by 35, 54-19.

Chowan was 8-of-25 from the floor in the half and had clanged away all six of their three-point attempts.

The partisan Chowan crowd, though disappointed, thought perhaps things might turn as Rhodes opened the half with a jump shot.

But any euphoria was short-lived as the Hawks could only muster five points for the next seven minutes as Union built a lead of as much as 45 points three times over the first nine minutes as Panthers coach Willard Coker then began to pull his starters.

At the 10-minute mark Chowan was down by 50. Fifty-five points (91-36) was the biggest lead of the night as VUU cruised to their eighth win in 14 games and left the Hawks still winless in the CIAA at 0-9.

“We’ve got to learn to transition our energy from practice to the playing floor,” said DeRose. “Somehow if we could just find that win then maybe we can turn this around.

“We’ve got five more home games,” he added; then rather cautiously he warned, “but home hasn’t exactly been kind to us.”