McCoy sinks crucial shot as Bears hold off Vikings in CIAA opener

Posted January 3, 2013

— Latrail McCoy’s clutch midrange jumper followed by a pair of critical free throws from Keith Mitchell helped the Shaw Bears hold off Elizabeth City State 72-69 in the CIAA opener on Thursday night at the R.L. Vaughan Center.

McCoy saw the defensive mismatch and used it to his advantage. The shot rolled around the rim before falling in to give the Bears the lead for good. A missed layup on the other end by ECSU’s Jaron Moore and a rebound by Mitchell put him on the free throw line where he sank a pair with four ticks remaining.

“I felt like I had a mismatch. The guy guarding me was smaller and he was quicker getting under me, so I felt like if I could post him up, I’d have a better chance of scoring,” said McCoy. “I struggled offensively all game long, so it felt good to get a good look at the basket and score.”

Curtis Hines led the Bears to their third straight victory with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Karron Johnson finished with 13 points and six boards. Junius Chaney finished with 12 points and McCoy finished the game with 10, none bigger than his fadeaway jumper in the final seconds.

As a team, the Bears shot 24-of-52 from the floor for a 46.2 percent rate. The Vikings were limited to just 40.4 percent shooting (23-of-57). The Bears also won the rebounding game, pulling down 40 boards to Elizabeth City State’s 29 with McCoy snagging down a team-high eight for Shaw.

“It feels good to open the conference with a victory,” said Shaw head coach Cleo Hill, Jr. “We played a tough nonconference schedule to help us prepare for the start of conference play. I’m pleased with the way we’ve been playing. We still need to improve on some things but I’m very pleased with the direction we’re headed in.”

The Vikings, who fall to 7-4 overall and 0-1 in CIAA play, held a 69-65 lead with 54 seconds remaining thanks to a basket from Blake Price. After a miss and an offensive rebound, McCoy found Hines all alone in the corner as he buried a three-pointer to bring the Bears to within one at 69-68 with 38 seconds remaining.

On the ensuing possession, Johnson intercepted Price’s inbounds pass to set up McCoy’s jumper that put the Bears ahead for good in the waning seconds of the game.

“We knew it was going to be a hard fought game all the way through,” said Hill. “We just wanted to find a way to come out here and be victorious. After the game one of our guys said that we were so poise during the middle of the storm and that’s exactly what happened. We were down by one late in the game and I thought the guys still stayed poise enough to do what they had to do on both ends of the floor.”

Both teams were relatively even early on in the first half. With the game tied at 6, Shaw went on a 9-0 run behind two three-pointers from Hines, a free throw by Hunter and a dunk by Johnson. The run gave the Bears an early 15-6 lead with 12:33 remaining in the first period.

Elizabeth City State answered with a 9-0 run of their own thanks to three straight three-pointers. With 11:24 remaining in the first half, ECSU’s Deon Rice sank the first three-pointer to bring the Vikings to within six. After a missed opportunity by Shaw, Glen Patterson buried a three-pointer to cut Shaw's lead to three. After another missed shot by Shaw, Elizabeth City’s Mykael Faulcon tied the game at 15 with 10:12 remaining in the first half.

Johnson ended the Vikings’ 9-0 run with a jumper from the top of the key, which gave the Bears a 17-15 lead. The Bears went back up by four thanks to a layup from Hines with 8:35 remaining in the opening period.

ECSU’s Dominique Byrd sank two free throws with 5:58 remaining in the first half to help the Vikings tie the contest at 21. From there, the Bears answered with another 9-0 run to build a 30-21 lead, capped off by Chaney’s layup with 3:01 remaining.

With 1:11 remaining in the first half, Hunter sank a jumper to put the Bears ahead by seven at 34-27. Elizabeth City State would pull within five on a layup by Price with nine seconds left. The Bears held a 34-29 lead at halftime.

Just seven seconds into the second half, Johnson stole the ball away from Price and scored on a layup to put the Bears back up by seven at 36-29.

Johnson’s bucket was the start of a 7-2 run for the Bears. With 17:59 remaining, Shaw’s Taurus Dortch scored on a layup to put the Bears back up by nine at 41-32.

Patterson helped Elizabeth City cut into the lead with a three-pointer which brought Shaw’s lead to six at 41-35 with 17:15 remaining. On the other end, Johnson scored on a three-point play to put the Bears back up by nine. Johnson was fouled as he scored a layup and sank the free throw to give Shaw a 44-35 cushion with 16:55 left to play.

Four straight points by Elizabeth City State helped cut Shaw’s lead to five at 44-39 with 15:54 remaining. Both teams were scoreless for exactly two minutes before Faulcon sank another three-pointer to bring the Vikings within two at 44-42 with 13:54 left.

After points by McCoy and Hunter, respectively, both teams traded baskets for the next few possessions. At the 8:42 mark, Elizabeth City State’s Angelo Sharpless tied the game at 51 after successfully converting a three-point play.

For the next four minutes, both teams went back-and-forth trading buckets. A three-pointer by Patterson tied the game once again, making it 61-61 with 4:43 remaining.

Four straight free throws by Chaney and Hunter put the Bears up 65-61 with 3:29 left. Faulcon brought the Vikings within one after sinking a three-pointer from the left wing, cutting Shaw’s lead to 65-64 with 2:22 left.

Following a turnover by the Bears, Faulcon sank another three-pointer to give the Vikings just their second lead of the contest, putting them up 67-65 with 1:47 remaining. After another turnover by Shaw, Price sank a jumper to put the Vikings up 69-65 to cap off an 8-0 run by Elizabeth City State.

The Bears closed out the game on a 7-0 run thanks to the three-pointer from Hines, the go-ahead bucket by McCoy and the two late free throws by Mitchell to take the 72-69 victory.

The Vikings were led by Sharpless’ 18 points and eight rebounds. Faulcon added 16 points on 4-of-10 from beyond-the-arc. Patterson contributed with 12 points in the loss.

Shaw will return to action on Saturday afternoon with another road CIAA battle at Chowan. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Murfreesboro.


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