Shaw Overwhelms Barber Scotia 97-45
[Raleigh, NC] - Only a coach could find something not to love when his team wins by 52.
The fans pouring out of C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium were buzzing over Shaw's 97-45 win over visiting Barber Scotia in their season opener. The talk was of a number of show stopping slam dunks as well as 11 shots sunk from well beyond the arc.
But Shaw head coach Cleo Hill, Jr. turned a more critical eye on the performance of his team.
"Even though I was a three-point shooter, I don't like to see a lot of three pointers put up," said Hill of his team's 19 attempts. "But we were shooting well so it didn't hurt us."
Defensively, the Bears may have held the Sabers to only 45 points, but 20 of them came from one player, Kameen McPleasant. "We didn't have good defensive rotations," Hill said. "Number 33 (McPleasant) took advantage of some slow and poor rotations."
That didn't mean Hill couldn't find a lot to like in the performance.
"It was a huge win. Everyone contributed and the (standing room only) crowd was amazing. I wasn't expecting a turnout that large, and they provided a lot of energy."
He had praise for a number of players, most notably preseason All-CIAA selection Tony Smith. "I still think Tony is the best player in D-II. He didn't exert himself out there, he just made it look so easy. He set the tone for us early. His leadership was key to the early run."
Smith finished the game with a double-double of 16 points and 13 assists - many of those assists to find open shooters beyond the arc.
"Junius Chaney hasn't played in a couple of years and played very well in his first regular season game," Hill said. Chaney finished the game with 18 points and eight rebounds - leading the Bears on the boards.
Finally, Hill had praise for the Bears' leading scorer, hometown hero Latrail McCoy. "He didn't miss any shots - five for five from three and four for four from the free throw line. He made a statement today." McCoy did miss a couple of field goal attempts for two, going two for four, but finishing with 21 points.
While Hill might not have been pleased with his team's overall defensive performance, he had to love the first six and a half minutes of the game, when the Bears held the Sabers scoreless and built an 18-0 lead.
With 9:38 left in the first, McCoy hit a three that gave the Bears a 28-7 lead. Barber Scotia would not cut the lead to within 20 after that. By halftime, the Bears had extended their lead to 48-20.
For many of the fans crowding the stands, the question for the second half was whether the Bears could win by 50 - and whether or not they would hit triple digits.
The Bears built the lead to 30 early in the second half, and after Smith hit a three with 15:34 left in the half, Shaw built a lead of 31 and never let the Sabers inside the 30-point margin. Up 78-43 with 6:49 left in the game, the Bears reeled off six straight points, putting the margin over 40.
The Bears later went on another scoring run - this one for ten points - that put the lead over the 50-point mark. But, the Bears missed some free throws in the last minutes of the game, and didn't hit the triple-digit mark.
The Bears were hot shooting from anywhere on the floor - at one point in the first half, they'd missed more dunks than threes. In the game, Shaw hit on 60.7 percent of their shots (37 for 61) including the 11 for 19 performance from beyond the arc. They actually were better from the floor than from the free throw line where they hit only 60 percent.
In all, four Bears scored in double digits: McCoy with 21, Chaney with 18, Smith with 16 and Malik Alvin with 15. In total, all but one player on the roster scored. The Bears also shared the rebounds, with all but two players collecting at lead two rebounds, and all but one player collected at least one assist.
Barber Scotia hit only 39.1 percent of their shots (18 for 46) and only 15.4 percent of those launched from the three-point line. They did hit seven of nine free throws for a 77.8 percent mark.
For the Sabers, McPleasant - with 20 - was the only player in double digits. Carlos Benton had five rebounds to lead Barber Scotia.
While Hill praised the home crowd, he and the Bears won't see them for awhile. The Bears now go on the road for nine games over the next seven weeks, including four different tournaments.
"This is a tough road swing and we're definitely going to be tested. He have a lot of tough games at a lot of tough arenas with a lot of tradition," Hill said.
The Bears do not return home until January 7 when they host Virginia State. Tipoff is 4:00 p.m.
Photos: Latrail McCoy goes up for a layup in the first half of Shaw's win (left) and Junius Chaney (right) goes up strong for a layup of his own - also in the first half.