Nov. 12, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - The Fayetteville State University men's basketball team won its home opener against Virginia-Lynchburg on Tuesday night thanks in part to execution at the beginning and tail end of the ballgame.
Sure, the middle was inconsistent at times, but those runs were enough for the Broncos to improve to 2-1 on the young season with a 84-68 win over the visiting Dragons.
"Obviously, be consistent with your effort for 40 minutes," coach Alphonza Kee said of what he can take from the game. "That's learning how to be able to sustain and handle the up and down. We gotta get that down part out."
FSU started the game out on a 13-2 run in the first 2:06 of play. Three 3-pointers were made in that period, but none would be made after that until the 17:47 mark of the second half, seven attempts later.
"We already know we're not a 3-point shooting team," senior Tyrrel Tate said. "We have shooters that can shoot but we're an inside out team. When we hit 3s, that helps us. But we don't depend on that.
What the Broncos depended on weas rebounding and forcing and scoring on turnovers. FSU outrebounded the Dragons 45-35, leading to a 19-13 advantage in second-chance points. The Broncos also forced 21 Lynchburg turnovers, scoring 24 points off those miscues.
"We were scoring the ball," Kee said. "Tonight I thought we didn't shoot the ball from 3 well, but we gotta continue to play with pace and execution. That's something that's common here. We need to continue growth, sustain offensive execution and pace and play hard for 40 minutes."
Five Broncos finished in double figures, led by Tate's 15 points. Anthony Shelton had 12, thanks in part to two 3-pointers. Timothy Haggie had 11 points on 4 of 10 shooting and Louis Craft and Joshua Dawson each finished with 10 points. Craft also had a team-high nine rebounds.
Lynchburg actually cut the deficit to 21-17 at the 6:43 mark of the first half. It was a 3-point game at 23-20 with 5:54 to go before the Broncos scored five points in a row to go up by eight. The Dragons immediately followed with an 8-0 run, tying the game at 28-28 with 2:13 until the halftime intermission.
At the break, Fayetteville State led 34-30.
In the second half, the Broncos methodically pushed that margin up to nine on Anthony Shelton's 3-pointer with 14:51 to go in the game. At that point it was 51-42. The Dragons never pushed the gap closer to seven the rest of the way.
The lead would eventually stretch to 19 at 79-60 with 3:46 to go, FSU's biggest lead.
Dawson, a freshman from Kinston, struggled in the first half after scoring 25 in the win against Notre Dame (OH) on Saturday. He was limited to zero field goals in the first half, in fact. Near the end of the game, however, Dawson made some plays. He scored six of his 10 in the second half.
Among those baskets was a 3-pointer and a second-chance bucket when he followed his own miss.
"Josh, he's a great player," Tate said. "He's not your normal freshman who's going to come in and do some stuff but not do some stuff. He listens and he's willing to get better."
FSU next plays Friday at Paine College in Augusta, Ga.