February 2015

Falcons fight but fall in CIAA Tournament

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The men’s and women’s teams 
fought hard but were knocked out of the CIAA Basketball Tournament.
The Falcon men ended the season with a 12-16 overall.  They advanced to the second round, knocking out Elizabeth City State in the first round. In the second round, on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, the men mounted a furious rally down the stretch, but the Falcons fell to Chowan University 65-60 in the second round of the CIAA Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The night before, the Lady Falcons fought admirably in the second half, but fell short in a 74-71 women’s first-round basketball loss to Virginia Union University in the CIAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
Down 55-46 with just under eight minutes remaining, the men came back behind the scoring of Raheem Jolliffe (Sr./Fayetteville, NC). The All-CIAA guard scored the last six points during a 14-4 run, including a three-pointer which pulled the Falcons within 60-59 with 2:36 left.
But the Falcons missed five three-point shots in the last 2:08 that would have either tied the score or gave them the lead. Their last miss occurred with 10 seconds remaining and the Hawks nursing a three-point lead. The Hawks iced the contest with two free throws with six seconds left.
Despite the loss, Falcons’ Head Coach MarQus Johnson was proud of his team.
“They fought hard,” Johnson said. “We just came up on the short end of the stick.”
Guard Anthony Gaskins (So./Greenville, NC) finished 17 points and five assists for the Falcons. Jolliffe added 15 points and forward Quincy January (Fr./Atlanta, GA), the CIAA Rookie of the Year, added 13 points and nine rebounds. Forward Tayron Gibson (Sr./Alexandria, VA) had seven points and six rebounds, and guard John Koger (Greensboro, NC) grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.
Carlos Arroyo scored 18 points and Kyree Bethel added 15 points for Chowan, which faces Northern Division Co-Champion Bowie State University in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, February 26 at 3 p.m. Mark Anthony Buright chipped in 14 points for the Hawks (15-12 overall), who are the No. 4 Northern Division seed.
After leading 35-32 at halftime, the Falcons went up 43-39 in the second half but Chowan suddenly gained its shooting touch. The Hawks drained three consecutive three-pointers during an 11-0 run to move ahead 50-43. Marquis Hines (Jr./Fayetteville, NC) of the Falcons stopped the run with a free throw.
The Falcons never again, but made it interesting late in the contest.
“I tell my guys all the time, it is a game of runs,” Johnson said.
The contest was the last in a Falcons’ uniform for seniors Gibson, Koger, Jolliffe and Ronald Owens (Brandywine, MD). The Falcons return 10 players including Gaskins and January.
“We were fairly young,” Johnson said. “I am proud of them. It was a long season, but our guys did what they were supposed to do.”
For the Lady Falcons, the defeat ended the Lady Falcons’ season at 12-14 overall. The Lady Falcons, the No. 4 Southern Division seed, lost in the first round for the first time in five seasons under Head Coach Rachel Bullard.
“We didn’t come out with the intensity that Virginia Union came out with,” Bullard said. “We couldn’t get in sync. We played with heart in the second half but dug ourselves a hole in the first half.”
Guard Regime McCombs (Jr./Greenville, SC) led the Lady Falcons with 20 points including 6 of 9 three-point attempts. Guard Jeanne-Marie Wilson (Jr./Temple Hills, MD) added 17 points and forward Terri Jacobs (Jr./McDonough, GA) scored 12 points.
The trio combined for 32 points in the second half to help the Lady Falcons outscore the Lady Panthers 43-34. Jacobs scored all 12 of her points in the second half while McCombs and Wilson each scored 10 points. They helped the Lady Falcons erase a 12-point halftime deficit to take their first lead of the game at 71-70 on Wilson’s driving layup with 54 seconds remaining.
The Lady Panthers made four free throws for a 74-71 lead including two with eight seconds left after rebounding their own missed free throw. Wilson’s three-pointer was just off the mark with two seconds remaining. Ashle Freeman of the Lady Panthers was the game’s scoring leader with 25 points before fouling out. Lady Walker added 22 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks while Sydney Howard scored 10 points.
Missed free throws hindered the Lady Falcons’ comeback. The top-ranked CIAA team in free throw percentage was 16 of 26 for 61.5 percent. The Lady Panthers, the No. 5 Northern Division seed, were 14 of 20 for 70 percent.
The Lady Falcons battled uphill for most of game after falling behind 6-0. The deficit reached double digits late in the first half.
The Lady Panthers were up 13 points in the second half, but the Lady Falcons started clicking. A 28-14 run put the Lady Falcons in front by one point on Wilson’s layup. The lead was brief, however, as the Lady Panthers won from the free throw line.
Despite the loss, the Lady Falcons appear set for next season. Ten players return including top scorers McCombs, Walton and Jacobs.
— Sports Information Office