Second half dooms Chowan

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MURFREESBORO – A little bit shy of a load.

In a game that was a tale of two halves, St. Augustine’s College’s men’s basketball team rallied from 12 points down in the final twenty-one-and-a-half minutes to defeat Chowan, 66-52.

The loss left the Hawks (6-11, 0-5 CIAA) still searching for their first win in conference play. St. Aug’s, meanwhile, won their fifth game in their last six outings (9-6, 4-1,CIAA).

After a blistering shooting exhibition in the first half, featuring two dunks, Chowan went cold from the floor the rest of the way.

The Hawks were also whistled for 26 fouls. Mark McGlone fouled out with under seven minutes to play and Quinton McDuffie – who got a rare start – spent much of the game on the bench in foul trouble, finishing with just two points.

Freshman and CIAA Rookie of the Week Kyree Bethel, saw his streak of 20-plus points scoring games snapped.  Bottled up much of the night by St. Aug’s defenders he finished with just seven points.

Chris Williams was the lone Hawk scorer in double figures with a career-high of 16 points.

A trio of St. Aug’s players finished in doublefigures led by Tyquan Strohman with 21.  Former Hertford County High star, freshman Jordan Jones, played but did not score.

“We just couldn’t put the ball in the bucket there in the second half”, said second-year coach Dan DeRose.  “We lost our energy and our intensity.

“We could’ve been up 16 or 17 points in the first half thanks to our pressure defense,” he added, “but we had too many guys in foul trouble.”

After St. Aug’s took a 10-point lead to open the game, helped by McDuffie’s two quick fouls, Chowan began to chip away at that mark with a 15-1 run highlighted by their hitting seven of eight shots and five points by Williams.

The St. Louis junior capped off the run with a free throw to tie it at 13-all, then gave Chowan the lead – and the partisan Hawk crowd a thrill – with a rim-rattling dunk in the lane to give the Hawks their first lead, 15-13.

The Falcons came back to tie it at, 17-all; but Chowan, who would go on to shoot over 55 percent for the half, mounted another run.

Williams got the next run started with his second jam-burger of the game and Ricky Lamb offered up a pull-up layup in the lane, helping to ignite eight unanswered en route to a 29-19 lead.

That bulge would grow to a dozen with 1:15 left on the clock as Bethel sank a pair of free throws.

And then things changed.

The Falcons scored the final four points of the frame to head into the locker room down 36-28, but they had more in store in the second half.

St. Aug’s would put the clamps on the Hawks defensively in the second half, scoring a dozen to just four for Chowan and it led to a 40-40 tie just six minutes into the half.

Then after four minutes in which each team connected just once, a basket midway in the second half gave the Falcons a 44-43 lead, their first since early in the first half.

The Falcons never trailed again as they opened an eight-point lead and foul trouble plus poor shooting plagued the Hawks.

Lee Branscome scored to slice the Falcons lead to 52-46 with just under eight minutes left, but the Hawks would not score another field goal until the 3:10 mark on Williams’ layup.

Chowan would make only one more field goal, a Mark Buright layup, for the rest of the game.  St. Aug’s put the game away at the charity stripe, draining their final seven attempts.

“We could have used a few more weapons,” said Williams, somberly, after the game. “Our objective was to run them out and get them tired, but we never could so that made it tough for us.”

“They hit some big shots,” said Buright, “but we just need to compete better.”

Chowan will begin another three-game home stand Saturday when they host Bowie State.  Tonight, they seek their first CIAA win on the road in Salisbury against Livingstone College.