Nov. 11, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Four seconds into the game, Sidney Evans slammed home Fayetteville State's first points of the season - the exact same play the Broncos used to open the 2010-11 season.
A year ago, the Broncos were off to the races, building a ridiculous 48-16 at the half over Barber-Scotia, the outcome never in doubt.
A year later, so much has changed. And yet at the same time, in a paradox only basketball can explain, so little changed.
Fayetteville State never got off to a blistering start in this season's opener against Barber-Scotia. This time, it was anything but. The Sabers, who trailed by just six at halftime, even took a 55-54 lead with 12:30 remaining in the game.
Then Jamel Carpenter took over. And Tim Plummer helped. And the Broncos were off to the races once again, this year making their winning kick in the home stretch, romping past Barber-Scotia 100-79 to open the 2011-12 basketball season.
"To be successful, you have to be at your best at the best time," said Fayetteville State head coach Alphonza Kee. "That's what we were tonight."
The Broncos (1-0) had to be, what with Barber-Scotia putting together the components to an upset bid.
It's just that Carpenter (Sr., Salisbury, N.C.) and Plummer (Sr., Apex, N.C.) wouldn't let them close the deal.
Carpenter buried three 3-pointers in quick succession after a couple of Plummer dunks, and in less than 150 seconds the Broncos went from trailing by a point to leading by 11, using a blistering 14-2 run to take a 68-57 lead.
"I really think Tim Plummer started it all," said Carpenter, the CIAA's leading scorer in 2009-10, who redshirted last season. "Those dunks really got us going and the crowd going. I was able to hit a couple of shots, but everybody joined in. People just started making plays."
Carpenter finished with 26 points in his first action in over a year, hitting six 3-pointers. Plummer added 14 points and several more highlight reel plays to his already impressive canon, but it was more than just offense from Plummer, who led the Broncos with nine rebounds and five steals.
"We had two MVPs tonight," said Kee, referring to Carpenter and Plummer. "Tim did everything we need him to do. His energy was incredible, his intensity was tremendous and he made winning plays."
Fayetteville State never let up after the moment of trepidation, blowing past Barber-Scotia to the clip of 39-13 after the Sabers had taken the lead. In less than 10 minutes after falling behind, the Broncos led by their widest margin, 93-68.
The adversity, though, was good thing for the Broncos this early in the season, Carpenter said.
"Adversity is always good," he said. "There are going to be times this season when we fall behind late in a game and have to fight our way back. We know already that we can do that when we need to."
Seth Hawkins (Jr., Greensboro, N.C.) gave the Broncos a big lift early in the game, particularly after the Sabers had used an 11-0 spurt to take an early 11-2 lead - all after the high-rising alley-oop by Evans. Hawkins scored nine of his 12 points in the first half to help keep the Broncos ahead, and added four assists and four steals. Tyrrel Tate (So., Raleigh, N.C.), a CIAA All-Rookie performer in last season's run to the CIAA Tournament semifinals, added 15 points and six rebounds for the Broncos, as 13 players found their way into the scoring column.
Carlos Benton Jr., who made four 3-pointers in the first half, led Barber-Scotia with 21 points. Kameen McPleasant added 16 points and eight rebounds while Tyrell Alston had 15 points and Rodney Carney 14.
Fayetteville State, who last scored 100 points in a season-opener when it knocked off UNC Pembroke 100-92 in 2009, hosts the Braves at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
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