Eagles edge Falcons

Published 1:09 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WINDSOR – It came down to a fourth quarter that saw just 15 points scored.

In fact the visitors only scored six.

But that was enough for Northeastern as they escaped Windsor with a 52-51 Northeastern Coastal Conference win over Bertie and claimed third place in the NCC.

In a classic case of fourth-quarter “stall-ball”, a minute and a half was left in the game when Bertie went ahead on a pair of free throws before Northeastern scored a baseline layup then held off the Falcons’ rally to preserve the win as Bertie’s three-point shot missed the mark.

Malcolm Cherry led Bertie as the only Falcon in double-figures with 14. Marquis Whidbee was the only Eagle in double-figures, pouring in 17 for Northeastern.

“We got a good look at it,” sighed Bertie coach Robert Jones, shaking his head, “we just didn’t shoot with confidence.”

Bertie fought back from their biggest deficit in the game – eight points – before coming up short.

Northeastern used their guard play to run out to a 9-6 lead thanks to Whidbee and teammate Karem Felton before Cherry helped exert Bertie’s backcourt muscle and drove for a layup to get the Falcons within a point, 9-8.

Shaquille White made a free throw on the next Bertie possession to tie it at 9-9 before a Tedrick White three-pointer put the Eagles back in front, 12-9.

Nonetheless, Bertie went on a 6-1 run to tie it at 13-13 before William Jenkins scored in the low-post to give the Falcons their first lead.

But it was short lived as Northeastern went back in front. Cherry next made a pair of free throws to put Bertie ahead by one, 17-16, but a missed one-and-one allowed the Falcons to only lead by that same score after one quarter of play.

The second quarter was just as tight, featuring three ties and four lead changes. Bertie’s biggest lead was five, 23-18, on a Deshaquan Brown baseline lay-up. Northeastern greatest bulge was four, 28-24 after a 4-0 run.

After Brown tied the score with a turnaround jump shot, 28-28, Northeastern scored a layup and a pair of free throws.  Bertie got a layup from Dreshaun Day, but only hit one of four free throws and trailed at the break by one, 32-31.

The game had moments of chaos at times in the third quarter with both teams scrambling up and down the floor, but neither putting the ball through the hoop.

White got a layup to open the quarter and give Bertie it’s only lead, 33-32, for the eight-minute span; but Northeastern had a 7-0 run next and led by six, 39-33, before the ‘run-a-thon’ began.

Northeastern led by six twice more in the frame, but scores by Jenkins, Dreshaun Day, and kept Bertie close and they only trailed by four, 46-42 after White bounced in a layup off the glass to make it, 46-42, with one quarter left to play.

If you could call it play.

A lay-up and two free throws had Northeastern up by their biggest margin, 50-42, before Bertie started chipping away.

First their defense held the Eagles scoreless for a five minute span. Offensively, Cherry got a layup, then a steal and a layup  and the deficit was down to four.

Raekwon Williams then dropped only the Falcons’ second three-pointer of the night and Bertie was within one, 50-49. Cherry was fouled on the next play after an Eagle turnover and his free throws made it 51-50, Bertie, with 1:23 to play.

Bertie’s hopes were raised when, on the next play, Whidbee was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one, keeping the Falcons in front.  But Nixon called timeout and out of the timeout the Eagles found Felton for what proved to be the game-winner.

After a time-out with 35 seconds left Jones set up the Bertie play, but the three-pointer clanged off the iron.  Northeastern (9-6, 5-3, NCC) got the rebound and was fouled; though they missed the foul shot, Bertie (7-8, 4-4, NCC) couldn’t get off a shot as the horn sounded.

“We just go back to practice tomorrow,” shrugged Jones.  “We showed heart, we lost with character, we’ll learn from this, and keep growing.”