Colleges

Strong Second Half Lifts St. Aug Past Chowan 64-54

Posted January 7, 2013

— It took one half for Saint Augustine’s University to get rolling, but once the Falcons did, it was lights out for Chowan University.

The Falcons put together a dominating performance in the second half to defeat the Hawks 64-54 in a CIAA men’s basketball game at the Helms Center on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. They recovered from a sluggish first half to gain their ninth victory in 13 games including a 2-1 mark in the CIAA.

After making 32 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes, the Falcons were a sizzling 64 percent from the floor in the second half. They outscored the Hawks 42-28 in the second half after trailing by four at halftime.

“Late in the first half we started getting our legs a little bit,” St. Aug Head Coach Lonnie Blow, Jr. said. “In the second half, we played a much different game.”

Blame the schedule on the slow start. It was the Falcons’ third game in five days and they were coming off a grueling loss to Elizabeth City State University in a defensive battle featuring two of the better defenses in the nation.

“[The schedule] had to have some kind of effect,” Blow said. “We played the first two road games, went home, and hit the road again today. It’s tough, but it’s the nature of the beast. In the conference, you have to be ready to play games in succession.”

Defense and rebounding kept the Falcons in close range of Chowan in the first half. They limited the Hawks to 33 percent shooting and controlled the backboards 26-10. The Falcons continued to lock down the Hawks in the second half, forcing them to shoot 35 percent. For the game, the Falcons won the rebounding category by a lopsided 45-23 advantage and held the Hawks to 34 percent shooting.

And it wasn’t one person who hit the glass. Seven Falcons snatched four or more rebounds including six apiece for forwards Chris Johnson (R-Jr./Hampton, Va.) and Tyquan Stroman (Sr./Poughkeepsie, N.Y.).

“The one difference obviously was rebounding,” Blow said. “We hurt them on the glass. We did a good job of guarding them on the three-point line and holding them to one shot.”
Blow especially had high praise for Johnson, who scored 10 of his game-high 16 points to key the Falcons’ rally in the second half. Johnson has been a steadying force the last three games despite playing sick. Guard Joel Kindred (Jr./Raleigh, N.C.), the team’s scoring leader, also contributed offensively in the second half with 11 points after going scoreless in the first half.

“[Chris] was feeling a little better today,” Blow said. “He was holding things together inside and rebounding the ball well. He scored inside and made some nice passes, also. Chris is an experienced kid, and he knows what he is doing out there. It is good to see him play well.”

Trailing 26-22 at halftime, the Falcons surged ahead once they found their shooting touch. Johnson’s layup gave the Falcons a 31-30 lead, their first since the game’s first minutes. The Falcons didn’t really explode until the 7:40 mark with the score tied at 42. The Falcons went on a 22-12 tear for their second win this season over Chowan (5-6, 0-3 CIAA) although the first meeting in November 2012 was a non-conference matchup. Forward Akeem Anderson (Sr./Memphis, Tenn.) punctuated the victory with a two-handed slam for a 64-52 lead with 43 seconds left in the game.

The strong finish allowed the Falcons to dig themselves out of a hole in the opening minutes. They fell behind 12-3 and played catch-up the rest of the first half, but took charge in the second half for the runaway win.

After playing 11 of their first 13 games on the road, the Falcons finally return home to Emery Gymnasium for six of the next seven contests including five in a row. On Thursday, Jan. 10, Bowie State University comes to town for a big CIAA meeting. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

“We won’t have to ride buses and stay in a hotel for a few weeks,” Blow said. “Hopefully we can get some momentum going at home. Anytime you can get a road win in the conference like tonight it is special, but you have to hold serve at home.”

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