Dec. 2, 2009
LAURINBURG - In its 89-79 loss at St. Andrews on Wednesday night, one thing became apparent to the Fayetteville State men's basketball team.
Size does matter.
Marcus Connor, a 6-foot-11 center, scored 22 points, pulled down seven rebounds and blocked four shots in St. Andrews' win. The Knights (2-3) scored 38 points in the paint and handed the Broncos (2-4) their fourth-straight and first out-of-conference loss.
St. Andrews had six players, including Connor, 6-foot-6 or taller who saw game action while FSU only had one - junior forward Ben Davis.
"They did their jobs," FSU head coach Alphonza Kee said. "We're not going to try to be something that we're not. But we are tenacious. In my mindset, we have to play our system better than they play theirs and we didn't."
Jamel Carpenter, the CIAA's leading scorer, had a game-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field.
"He's doing all I ask," Kee said of Carpenter. "He's playing as hard as he can and playing multiple positions. We have some pieces, but right now it's a process. This wasn't a championship game. We want to establish a program and we're on course."
Broncos guard Jarmel Baxter scored 11 points, Ariel Robinson tallied 10 points and senior Jarrick Jones had 12 points. Davis had a team-high nine rebounds and also scored five points.
"We're building," said Kee. "I'm proud of the effort, but we need to be able to get it done with what we have."
St. Andrews led 40-35 at halftime and the teams traded baskets for the first few minutes of the second half.
But, a 14-5 run keyed by forward Marvin Jackson gave the Knights a 65-58 lead with five minutes left. Sophomore point guard Aaron Christian converted several free throw attempts in the final minutes to help preserve St. Andrews' 10-point victory. Jackson had 19 points and 10 rebounds for St. Andrews and Christian added 17 points.
With final exams beginning this week, FSU has a 12-day break before it hosts The University of North Carolina at Pembroke in Capel Arena on Dec. 14.
Carpenter said it's a chance for the Broncos to improve.
"All we can do is watch film and get better," he said. "This break is a good thing and a bad thing. Hopefully, everyone will take care of themselves and stay in shape. We want to come back on top; we don't want to come out in a slump."
Added Kee: "We'll have some time to work on some kinks. We have to guard the battle better and that's just repetition.