Bears Pass Century Mark; Hold Off Persistent Chowan 103-89
[Murfreesboro, NC] - For Shaw head coach Cleo Hill, Jr., the Bears game at Chowan Saturday was a good news/bad news situation.
Good news: the Bears scored 103 points. Bad news: they gave up 89 to the Hawks.
"We just aren't a good team defensively," said Hill after the game. "They shot high numbers percentage wise and we just didn't stop them."
In the second half, Hill tried a larger lineup to try and improve the squad's defense, with mixed results. "We wanted to try and use more length - contest their shots with more size. It worked in spots, but they still hit 50 percent from the three-point line."
That said, Hill then focused on the offense. "We just don't have a problem scoring. I think there might be a night this season where we score 110 or 115."
The Bears shot 68.3 percent (41 of 60) and were five of 11 from beyond the arc. The Hawks hit 32 of their 56 attempts for a 57.1 percent shooting rate and hit ten of 20 from the three-point line.
The win is Shaw's eighth straight, putting them at 12-2 on the season, 4-0 in the CIAA. Chowan drops to 6-10 on the season, 0-4 in the conference.
All five starters for the Bears finished the game in double figures, led by Malik Alvin with 28 points, tying his season high. This is the fourth game that Alvin has scored 28 this season. Karron Johnson scored 17 and Junius Chaney, Tony Smith and Devon Mclendon had 13 apiece.
The Bears scored 64 points in the paint on the evening, and had 20 points off of Chowan's 13 turnovers.
Chowan took the very early lead in the game, building an 8-4 margin in the first two and a half minutes. The Bears then ran off nine straight points, culminating in a Mclendon three from the right corner with 14:59 left to give the Bears a 13-8 lead.
For most of the first half, Chowan held it close to Shaw, but were never able to take the lead. With 8:56 left in the half, Mark Buright hit a jumper to tie the score at 24.
Shaw then reeled off eight unanswered points, and when Latrail McCoy hit a free throw to finish off a three-point play, the Bears led 32-24.
The Hawks then went on an 8-2 run of their own. With 5:20 left in the first, Kyree Bethel hit a layup on the fastbreak to cut the Shaw lead to two, 34-32. The two teams battled relatively evenly the rest of the half, with Shaw taking a 50-45 lead into the locker room at the break.
After exchanging buckets with the Hawks to open the second, the Bears went on a 13-4 run. With 15:03 left in the game, Johnson took a pass from Chaney and hit the layup, giving Shaw a 65-51 lead.
While the Hawks eventually cut the Shaw lead to five on a three-pointer from Bethel, the Bears quickly roared back, building their lead to 17 with a minute left in the game.
With 26 seconds still on the clock, Malik Alvin hit a pair of free throws that sent the scoreboard into triple digits and gave the Bears a 101-86 lead. Perhaps fittingly, Alvin closed out the scoring with a layup with only 11 seconds showing to give the Bears the 103-89 final.
For Chowan, Bethel finished with 25, while Quinton McDuffie had 19, Buright 13 and Chris Williams 12. Mark McGlone was the leading rebounder for the Hawks with five.
For Shaw, the leading rebounders were Mclendon and Smith with six apiece. Smith also led the squad with seven assists.
The Bears return home on Thursday, January 19 when they host Lincoln (PA). Game time Thursday is at 7:30 p.m. at the C. C. Spaulding Gymnasium on the Shaw campus.