Hawks fall to Vikings

Published 1:51 pm Monday, January 21, 2013

MURFREESBORO – Fire extinguisher.

Saturday saw another hot start by Chowan University’s basketball team in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play, but when the flames had died it was the Elizabeth City State Vikings who sailed off with the win, 76-69.

Alray Blackmon and Quinton McDuffie tied for scoring honors for the Hawks with 20 points each; with McDuffie doing his damage coming off the bench, while Kyree Bethel added nine.

Three Chowan players tied for rebounding honors with five and Greg Alston had six assists.

The chief Viking pillager was Plymouth native, Angelo Sharpless, who looted the Hawks to the tune of 27 points and 15 rebounds. Malachi Jackson added 22 more for ECSU while Glenn Patterson had 15.

Chowan shot over 61 per ent from the floor in the first half, exploiting Elizabeth City for 13 points off turnovers for a three-point, 40-37, halftime lead.

But the Vikings did most of their plundering on the backboards, out-rebounding the home team, 37-30, and swiping 16 offensive boards off the glass.

“We really struggled rebounding the ball,” said first-year Chowan coach Brett Vincent. “A lot of that’s size and a lot of that’s just effort; you’ve got to get in there and battle.

“It’s different to be big,” he added. “But if you’ve got some agility and some athletic ability with it, it creates a huge problem, and that’s what we’re dealing with.”

After a 5-5 tie, Blackmon did a great job of creating in the beginning; scoring six of Chowan’s first 11 points, with his last layup giving Chowan an 11-7 lead.

“He (Blackmon) can get into the paint and make something happen,” said Vincent. “If he doesn’t draw a defender to him he can at least get to the rim and finish or get to the free throw line and he’s an excellent free throw shooter.”

ECSU fought back to tie it at 15-all before continuing their run and twice building a lead of six points; the last time at the nine minute mark. Chowan, however, fought back and retook the lead, 28-27.

The Hawks twice took a lead of six points in the final four minutes of the half; the last one coming on four straight foul shots from Blackmon.

It was still a six-point advantage when the Hawks switched to a zone-defense for the second half and ECSU began to exploit the perimeter.

Sharpless tied the game at 46-all with 15:16 left in the contest. Then a three-pointer by Patterson at the 14:42 mark gave ECSU the lead for the first time since the opening half.

Chowan would never lead again, but they did whittle away at the Vikings bulge, getting it down to three, 60-57, on an Alston free throw with seven and a half minutes left.

Patterson and Sharpless then ignited a 16-7 ECSU run, even delighting the Viking crowd with a pair of dunks. Elizabeth City (10-7, 3-4, CIAA) built a dozen point lead, 76-64, with three minutes left in the game before both teams cleared their benches.

“We know boxing out is our weakest point as a team,” said Blackmon. “But we’re still going to come hard night in-night out with the rebounding. I’ve got faith in my teammates.”

“We just need to pick it up in the second half like we do in the first,” said Bethel.

Chowan falls to 5-10 and remain winless in CIAA play. They play at Virginia State in Petersburg on Wednesday before returning to the Helms Center Saturday for a 4 p.m. tip-off against Bowie State.