Hawks fall to St. Aug

Published 1:41 pm Thursday, January 10, 2013

MURFREESBORO – Second time around.

After dropping an early season tournament game to St. Augustine’s University back in November at a neutral site, Chowan was hoping for a better result at home in the Helms Center.

Instead, the Falcons used a second-half splurge to dip the Hawks below .500 for the first time this season, taking a 64-54 win.

Unlike the first game, this one counts in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) standings.

For the fourth straight game, Chowan had multiple players score in double figures.  And just like the three others, it couldn’t translate into a win.

Quinton McDuffie and Alray Blackmon tied for scoring honors with 13 each. Freshman Kortez Smith had 11 points to go with six assists while Kyree Bethel had 10 along with three steals.

Chris Johnson of St. Aug’s led all scorers with 16.

Boasting six players standing 6’-7” or taller the Falcons nearly doubled-up the Hawks in rebounding (45-23). Seven Falcons snatched four or more caroms.

“Their size wore us down,” said first-year Chowan coach Brett Vincent. “We were basically a first-shot team. We’ve got to make our first shot because we struggle to get second shots because of the size of team’s in this league.”

“The one difference obviously was rebounding,” said St. Aug’s coach Lonnie Blow. “We hurt them on the glass. We also did a good job of guarding them on the three-point line and holding them to one shot.”

Chowan jumped out to a nine-point lead, 12-3, in the first five minutes thanks to seven points from McDuffie.

St. Aug’s scored nine of the next 13 to whittle the deficit down to 16-12.

Later, a McDuffie jump shot and a pair of rainbow deuces from Blackmon – who scored his career high as a Hawk – pushed the lead to 10, 24-14, with five and a half to play, Chowan’s largest bulge of the game.

“Coach gave me the opportunity, I took full advantage of it,” said Blackmon. “I just went out and played as hard as I can.”

However, down the stretch the Falcons played a little harder, outscoring the Hawks 8-2; but Chowan was still in front by four, 26-22, when the two teams headed for the locker room.

It took St. Aug’s less than two minutes to tie the score, 28-28, as the second half began before Bethel made a driving layup to put Chowan back ahead.

Every time the Falcons seized the lead, Blackmon let fly a jumper to reclaim the top spot for the home team.  But after Bethel tied it for the fifth time with a three-pointer at 42-all, St. Aug’s got a layup, the lead, and never looked back.

SAU (9-4, 2-1, CIAA) went on a 22-12 run to the finish, punctuating the win on their final field goal of the game, a slam dunk with 43 seconds left.

“They beat us by 17 or 18 earlier in the year and they got us by, what, nine or 10 tonight?” said Vincent. “So we have improved, we’re getting better.

“We knew at the beginning of the year it was going to be a process, and it’s going to be a long process,” he added.

Chowan now hits the road for its next three games beginning Thursday night in Charlotte against Johnson C. Smith.  Their next home game is Saturday, Jan. 19. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. against Elizabeth City State.