Nov. 10, 2013
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Mixed in with a bunch of veteran players, Josh Dawson showed none of the signs of jitters or nerves often associated with freshmen getting their first taste of collegiate basketball.
Instead, it was the Kinston native who took over the game late, scored 25 points and helped Fayetteville State hold off a Notre Dame (OH) rally.
The Broncos prevailed at the C.E. Gaines Center, 93-86, earning their first victory of the young basketball season.
"Every morning at 5:30, we're up practicing, getting better," Dawson said. "We clicking as a team now. ... Yesterday we got down on each other (in a loss against Concord), today we continued to stay with each other, having each other's back. Last night, we had a meeting and Coach talked to us. So, we had to stay with each other throughout everything."
With 4:10 to play, Notre Dame led by three at 82-79. Then, when his team needed an offensive burst most, Dawson scored the Broncos next eight points. Including among those baskets were a pair of foul shots that cut the deficit to one with 3:02 left, a jumper that cut the gap to one with 2:16 to go and four free throws in a 15-second span that gave FSU an 87-84 lead with 1:46 to play.
Fayetteville State never trailed from that point forward.
"He has great teammates," FSU coach Alphonza Kee said. "Guys embrace him as a leader. They support him. He has great brotherhood and also, he's a unique guy. He's been leading his whole high school career."
Also in double-figures for the Broncos (1-1) were Tyrrel Tate (19 points), Torian Showers (13) and Timothy Haggie (11).
After suffering defeat in a close-fought contest with Concord on Friday, FSU did the small things to ensure that wouldn't happen again. The Broncos committed just six fouls in the second stanza, while Notre Dame spent a good period of the period in the bonus and double bonus.
FSU also dominated the boards, outrebounding Notre Dame 40-24. While the Broncos' opponents stayed hot from beyond the arc (13 of 29 for the game), the opportunities at second chances were minimal.
"We gotta get better," Kee said. "At the same time, give credit to them. When you've got guys who can shoot the ball at multiple positions, we have to help and close on everybody. We can improve, but they're a good basketball team. When you got one, two, three, four guys shooting the 3, that's unique."
The Broncos also got to the foul line at a rate nearly double that of Notre Dame. FSU shot 31 foul shots for the game, making 22 of those attempts. Notre Dame went 11 of 16 on the evening.
FSU led 46-41 at halftime, thanks in large part to an early run. An 11-5 streak stretched the Broncos lead from 31-30 to 42-35 with 3:03 to go in the period.
The Falcons were led by a trio of 20-point scorers. Tyree Gaiter (24 points), Jarvis Huntley (24) and Lawrence DeArmond (20) combined for 68 of their 86 points.
FSU is back at it on Tuesday for its home opener against Virginia-Lynchburg at 7 p.m.