Bethel’s stellar night not enough

Published 3:45 pm Monday, January 23, 2012

MURFREESBORO – Tall order.

Not even a near-record night could help Chowan’s men’s basketball team overcome 21st-ranked Bowie State in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play Saturday at the Helms Center as the Bulldogs prevailed, 81-71.

Fayetteville freshman Kyree Bethel, named CIAA Rookie of the Week a week ago, drained eight three-pointers, just one shy of the Chowan single game record en route a career-high 27 points.

That total  was also the most by any Hawks player this season.

“I told him he was going to have a big game today, ” said second-year coach Dan DeRose, “because he was going to be open all day.

“Unfortunately,” he sighed, “we needed some other people to step up and that just didn’t happen; and that was the difference in the game.”

Bethel also had three assists and was 3-for-4 from the foul line. The only other double-figure scorer for Chowan was junior Quinton McDuffie with 19 points and six rebounds.  Fellow junior Rickey Lamb scored nine.

Bowie, who averages 6′-7″ across their front line, were led by Darren Clark with 15 points  Four more Bulldogs had a dozen each including pre-season All-CIAA pick, 7′ center Travis Hyman, with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Bowie used their size to their advantage: ruling the backboards and outrebounding Chowan, 51-31. The Bulldogs also outscored the Hawks in the low-post, 42-14, with 26 of those points coming on second shots.

Chowan hung tough in the early going. Bethel opened the game with a three-pointer and Bowie was never able to get in front by more than four points through the first eight-and-a-half minutes.

Trailing, 15-10, Chowan was outscored, 7-2, over the next two minutes as Bowie built a 10-point lead.  But the Hawks mounted a run of their own: McDuffie and Chris Williams scored in the low-post while Lamb and Bethel fired in three’s.

That barrage brought the lead down to three, 25-22, with less than six minutes until the break. Chowan would cut it to three another trio of times, the last coming on a pair of Bethel free throws that made it 33-30; and it was 35-31, Bowie, at halftime.

Cold shooting was the watchword for the opening minutes of the second half.

Bowie got just a free throw, a three-point play, and a layup in the first five-and-a-half minutes; but Chowan wasn’t scoring either.

The Hawks were down 10 before Bethel hit a three-pointer at the 14:16 mark, but Chowan’s window of opportunity had closed.

The Bulldogs (13-3, 5-2, CIAA) then extended the lead to 15 at the halfway point before Chowan cut it down to eight at 62-54. But the Hawks couldn’t maintain that momentum despite Bethel’s firepower and Bowie pulled away late.

Coach Darrell Brooks pulled his starters with time winding down and the final margin of victory was just 10.

“Any time you can win a game on the road in this league,” said Brooks, “it’s a steal”.

“My teammates did a good job of setting screens for me,” said Bethel. “When they wouldn’t come out and guard me, I just buried it.

“We can’t quit,” he added, “we’re an up-and-coming team and as more guys get more playing time and more focus they’ll elevate their game and do more on the floor.”

Chowan (6-13, 0-7, CIAA) hosted Lincoln Monday night.  Thursday evening they’ll welcome Elizabeth City State to the Helms Center for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.