Hawks fall at home

Published 5:06 pm Monday, January 16, 2012

MURFREESBORO – Welcome home.

While more than a hundred fans were on hand at the Helms Center to greet and cheer for former Bertie High and current Winston-Salem State basketball player, Wykevin Bazemore, the Chowan men’s basketball team was not among them.

Bazemore had a double-double night in his first collegiate game back in the Roanoke-Chowan area: 17 points and 14 rebounds. It helped the Rams to their fourth win in a row, 71-66, over the Hawks.

The loss dropped Chowan to 6-9 and left them winless (0-3) in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).

The Hawks may have found a new scoring threat as freshman guard Kyree Bethel continued his offensive maturation: draining four three-pointers and going 9-for-16 from the floor en route to leading all scorers with 24 points and added three steals.

It was the Fayetteville native’s fifth straight double-figure scoring game and second in which he eclipsed the 20-point mark.  It’s moved him now into the top-25 in the CIAA in scoring.

Teammate and fellow frosh Mark Buright finished with 12 including going 4-for-4 at the foul line while Mark McGlone had seven rebounds and five assists.

“He’s really coming into his own,” said second year coach Dan DeRose of Bethel. “We try to do everything we can to get him open.

“I know we’re wearing him out a little bit right now,” he added (Bethel played 36 minutes on Thursday night), “but he’s a true offensive threat and if we can get him a little bit more on the defensive end  I think he’s going to be a pretty good player.”

Quite a few fans had turned out to see Winston-Salem State’s leading scorer: former Hertford County High star Lamar Monger, but Monger tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last week in the Rams’ game with Virginia State and is now out for the season.

Winston-Salem State jetted out to a 12-6 lead in the early minute of play before Chowan mounted a run and got within two near the midway point in the half when a Kenneth Mears layup made it 12-10.

Back roared the Rams with a 9-0 run to make it, 21-10, but Chowan ate that double-digit lead all the way down to a single point, 24-23, on a driving Bethel layup in the lane with a little more than four minutes to the break.

But Chowan could never get stops.

WSSU then went on another run to stretch the lead to 10, with under a minute until halftime, but a three-point play by Rickey Lamb got it down to a seven-point deficit, 35-28, as the teams made their way to the locker room.

Chris Williams opened the second half by delighting the Chowan fan base with an alley-oop dunk on an assist from Quinton McDuffie.

But the game of runs continued as the Rams open things up with a run to get the lead to 14 points, 44-30.

By then it was Chowan’s time to dominate the scoring again as Bethel led the way thanks to a pair of three-point baskets and thus end Winston-Salem’s double-figure leads in getting it back to a four-point game, 44-40.

The runs became sparser as Chowan chipped and chipped away. At the 13-minute mark it was down to a three-point game, 50-47.

Buright made a fadeaway jumper over the outstretched arm of a Rams defender to get the Hawks within one, 52-51, but Chowan could never tie or go ahead in the contest.

The Hawks got it down to a single point twice more, the last time with eight minutes to play, 56-55, but came no closer.  Three times it was a two-point lead, including 62-60 on a pair of McGlone foul shots and five minutes to go.

Chowan looked poised to pull off the upset as the clock ticked down but instead they got it to 71-66 and turned the ball over on two straight possessions.

“We’re learning with each game,” said Bethel.  “We just need that one game where we put all the pieces together.”

“I had to show-out for my home fans,” said a smiling Bazemore. “My brother (ODU player, Kent Bazemore) is coming to the Elizabeth City State game and I want to put on a show for him.”

“We spread ’em out and tried to confuse them,” said DeRose, shaking his head, “but we left a lot of shots out there.  Now let’s figure out how to make a couple more shots and get a couple more stops and we’ll be okay.”