Jan. 7, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - During the offseason, a casual walk through a dimmed Felton J. Capel Arena would bring with it the sound of a dribbling basketball - and a swishing net.
A glance down below, and one could see Tyrrel Tate, working on his jump shot, and doing it from behind the arc. Having attempted just seven 3-point shots his freshman year, and only making two of them, the 6-foot-5 wing from Raleigh knew he needed to add to his game.
All of that extra work paid off on Saturday night as Tate buried two critical 3-pointers to help Fayetteville State snap a three-game skid with a 76-67 victory over Chowan at Capel Arena.
"It's just something going into the season that I had to have in my game," said Tate, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench, 13 of those points coming in the second half. "And I worked on it enough that I feel confident with it now."
Tate, who had made just one 3 in five tries this season, hit his first one with 14:39 remaining in the game to push Fayetteville State's lead to five. But the bigger one came later, after Kyree Bethel had drilled his fifth 3 of the game to bring Chowan (6-8, 0-2) within three points. Tate answered right back from the corner, giving the Broncos (3-6, 1-1) a 59-53 lead with 6:04 to go.
Tate later added three points the old fashioned way to push the lead to nine, 64-55, with 4:15 left, and though Chowan managed to trim the deficit to three with 1:36 to go, the Broncos held on for their first CIAA victory of the season.
"Tate is a symbol of who we are becoming as a program," said Broncos head coach Alphonza Kee. "He's a high school recruit who played well as a freshman, but one who understood that he needs to continue to work on his game. The fruits of the work he put in during the summer were evident tonight."
The Broncos got significant contributions throughout the roster. Tim Plummer (Sr., Apex, N.C.) led Fayetteville State with 18 points while 6-foot-8 center Donte Fields (Jr., New Bern, N.C.) hit all six of his field goal attempts for a career-high 12 points to go with seven rebounds. Tate finished with 16 points and seven boards while freshman Anthony Shelton had nine points.
Fields gave the Broncos a significant boost, hitting big baskets early.
"He gave us a great lift," Tate said of Fields. "We always knew he would come through for us one day, and tonight he really brought it."
Fayetteville State did well to weather an early Chowan storm. The Hawks shot 60 percent from the field through the game's first 10 minutes, building a 17-11 lead after an 11-2 run.
But the Broncos came right back, getting help from Fields, who had six points to help the Broncos get back in it. Plummer scored eight points before the break, many of them coming in Fayettevile State's 9-1 run that enabled the Broncos to take their largest lead to that point, 33-27, with 3:26 to go in the period.
The Broncos held on to a 33-30 lead at the break, despite 11 first-half points by Bethel, who buried his third 3-pointer near the end of the period to creep Chowan closer.
Bethel made 6 of 8 3-point attempts, finishing with a career-high 22 points to pace Chowan, while Quinton McDuffie added 18 points. Mark McGlone added 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Fayetteville State hosts Elizabeth City State at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.