March 1, 2012
CHARLOTTE - Seth Hawkins did the heavy lifting.
His teammates took care of the rest.
Every time Hawkins hit a 3-pointer, he gave the Fayetteville State Broncos a lead. But it was a cast of teammates who helped put together a game-closing 14-1 run in the final 4 minutes to lift Fayetteville State to a 65-53 victory over St. Augustine's in the nightcap of CIAA Tournament play late Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
But it all started with the 5-foot-10 Hawkins, who gave a Broncos (10-16) team that was struggling to find its range the spark it needed to come back from a seven-point second half deficit. Hawkins, a reserve guard who averaged just 9.6 minutes per game this season, made all three of his 3s in a span of less than 5 minutes.
"Seth was huge," said Fayetteville State coach Alphonza Kee. "Don't let his small stature fool you. He made big shots and has a big heart."
The rest of team took over from there. John Herrington hit a baby hook. Anthony Shelton swished a jumper. Andre Best beat the shot clock with a deep deuce. By the time Herrington added two more foul shots with 1:24 to go, the Broncos had scored eight of nine points and led 59-53.
"I know how good Seth is," said Tyrrel Tate, who had 14 points to lead the Broncos. "He got us started, and once he did that, we just ran with it."
Hawkins, who averaged only3.9 points per game this season after shining in the Broncos' run to the CIAA Tournament semifinals a year ago, said there's a lot to like about playing in Time Warner Cable Arena.
"It's the big stage," he said. "During the season, I had my ups and downs, but there's just something about playing here. I guess I can play my game in this place."
Fayetteville State will get the first chance at pulling the upset of the tournament - and perhaps the nation - when it takes on fifth-ranked Shaw (24-2) at 9 p.m. on Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Broncos lost twice this season to the Southern Division champion, but took the Bears to double overtime in Raleigh before falling 92-84 on Jan. 30. Shaw has won 20 straight games.
Tyquan Stroman led all players with 17 points for St. Augustine's (14-14). Joel Kindred added 12.
Herrington added 11 points and Hawkins had nine for Fayetteville State, which has won five of its last seven games.
The game, the sixth and final on the day of CIAA Tournament action, did not tip off until near 11 p.m., two hours after its scheduled time. The final horn sounded well after midnight.
Hitting 13 of 14 foul shots - Stroman was a perfect 5-for-5 in leading the Falcons with nine points at the break - St. Augustine's methodically ran off a 12-2 spurt to lead 24-17 with 6:54 to go in the half. The Falcons held a 31-25 lead the break, making 11 of those free throws after the 8-minute mark of the first half.
Fayetteville State got off to a good start, getting nine points from Tate in less than 10 minutes to help the Broncos to a 15-12 lead with 10:30 remaining in the period.