Jan 19, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — An excellent week of practice translated into a stunning victory for Saint Augustine’s University over nationally-ranked Winston-Salem State University on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.
The Falcons were intense from tip-off and didn’t let up despite falling behind at halftime. By time the final horn sounded, the Falcons came away with a 63-61 win at packed Emery Gymnasium in the CIAA Southern Division opener for both teams. The Falcons snapped the Rams’ 12-game win streak which was their longest in 13 years.
“I had a good feeling all week in practice,” St. Aug Head Coach Lonnie Blow, Jr. said. “I told [our players] that. I felt good before the game, and I think they felt the same way.”
Coming off an eight-point win over Virginia Union University Monday, the Falcons (11-6 overall, 4-3 CIAA, 1-0 Southern Division) had five days to prepare for the Rams, ranked 11th in the NABC/Division II Coaches Poll. It was the longest break between games since the Christmas and New Year’s holidays for the Falcons. Blow and his assistant coaches Erasto Hatchett and MarQus Johnson stressed the importance of intensity to the team during the week.
The players carried the message into the contest against the Rams (13-3, 6-1 CIAA, 0-1 Southern Division), the defending CIAA champions. The Falcons shot out to a 17-10 lead early, but the Rams rallied to take a 28-23 halftime lead. Still, Blow was not discouraged in the first-half play of the Falcons.
“I thought we did a good job in the first half,” Blow said. “[The Rams] started trapping and pressing which made us rush a bit. In the second half, we went back to doing what we did earlier in the game.”
The Falcons relied on their strength - rebounding - to re-gain momentum. Misses were rare in the second half as the Rams shot 56 percent and the Falcons 53 percent, but the Falcons snatched the few rebounds which came off the rim. For the game, the Falcons, who lead the CIAA in rebounding margin, outrebounded the taller Rams 33-25 including 18-8 on the offensive end. Senior guard Tyquan Stroman (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and sophomore center Jonathan Crawley (Richmond, Va.) led the Falcons with six rebounds apiece.
The Falcons showed intensity in other ways. Senior guard Nick Chamblee (Hampton, Va.) dished out six assists compared to two turnovers despite playing with an injury. The trio of junior guard Joel Kindred (Raleigh, N.C.), his brother senior guard/forward Jon Kindred (Raleigh, N.C.) and Crawley all came off the bench to give the Falcons a 33-11 advantage in bench points while making key stops on defense and helping the Falcons crash the boards.
Joel Kindred scored 11 points and Crawley, listed at 6-8 and 340 pounds, added 10 points in addition to his six rebounds while Jon Kindred had eight points and four rebounds. The win was especially sweet for Crawley, a former football offensive lineman for the Rams.
“I try to play hard every game but I can say I was a little bit more enthused [against Winston-Salem State].” Crawley said. “I have some friends on their team and it was a little friendly competition.”
Crawley felt the practices during the week helped the team get past the Rams.
““Everybody was competing against each other and pushing each other,” Crawley said. “We came out and did the right things against the Rams, who were ranked 11th. This game will help us move forward.”
The Falcons led much of the second half though never by more than five points. Senior guard Percy Woods (Washington, D.C.), who led all scorers with 19 points, put the finishing touches on the contest. His three-pointer with 4:14 left made the score 54-49, but the Rams wouldn’t quit. A three-pointer by Tyre Desmore (10 points) put the Rams within three with a minute left, but Woods hit three of four free throws to give the Falcons the win.
““We treated every play in practice like it was a real game,” Woods said. “Everybody is buying in to what Coach Blow is teaching. A win like this show we can make our mark in this league.”
Justin Glover led WSSU with 15 points. WyKevin Bazemore added 12 points for the Rams.
The Falcons need to bring the intensity again on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, when they face another Southern Division foe. Johnson C. Smith University comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. encounter at Emery Gymnasium. It will be the fifth straight home game for the Falcons.
“This win has to help our confidence,” said Blow about his squad, off to a good start despite being picked to finish last in the Southern Division in the preseason. “[The Rams] are really talented. To beat a team like that lets you know you can play with the big boys. We have to build on it. We can’t be satisfied. We have to move forward.
“We have another big game Wednesday. Smith is coming in here and it is going to be another dogfight.”
WAUG-TV will televise the contest versus Johnson C. Smith on Time Warner Digital Cable 168. Fans can also follow the action via live stats on saintaugfalcons.com.