Dec. 3, 2013
GREENVILLE, NC - For most of the night, the Fayetteville State men's basketball team looked unfazed by the Division I athletes and atmosphere it was up against.
Ultimately, it was East Carolina who was victorious. The Pirates won 96-78 in what counts as an exhibition game for the Broncos. But for the majority of the contest, FSU kept things within a single-digit margin against a solid opponent.
"I like my team. They played hard," Broncos coach Alphonza Kee said. "I really liked the meat of the game and how we competed. We did some good things offensively."
Kee said one of the main differences in the game was the foul disparity. The Broncos committed too many fouls early in both halves to send the Pirates to the charity stripe. When all was said and done, ECU shot 46 free throws. FSU went to the line just 14 times.
But the Broncos stayed in the game because they were able to hit their open shots. FSU finished 28 of 67 (41.8 percent) for the game and 15 of 32 (46.9 percent) in the second half. The Broncos made 11 of their 23 3-point attempts.
Tyrrel Tate finished with 17 points and Anthony Shelton had 11. Torian Showers, the transfer from Davidson County Community College playing his first season at FSU, scored a team-high 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting. He hit four 3's and hauled down a team-high seven rebounds.
"He's outstanding," Kee said. "He's for a purpose. We want him to be an elite person, an elite player. He's been pretty consistent all year as far as scoring the ball and doing some rebounding. I wasn't surprised at all that he played well tonight and I was really proud of him."
The Broncos started the game on a 12-6 run, scoring early buckets on 3's by Tate and Showers and jumpers by Joshua Dawson and Showers. FSU scored 14 points in the game's first 3:34.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, a 10-0 run soon after gave the Pirates a 24-16 edge, a lead ECU never surrendered. FSU cut the gap to 33-31 at the four-minute mark, but the Pirates closed the half on a 12-4 run and took a 45-35 lead into intermission.
The Pirates lead was 60-46 at the 15:19 mark before FSU made a small run to get back into it. Showers hit a couple of 3-pointers sandwiched around a layup by ECU's Prince Williams to cut it to 10. After the Pirates stretched the lead back to 13 with 10:50 left, FSU scored five straight points on two Timothy Haggie jumpers and a foul shot.
ECU again stretched the lead out, this time to 79-62 at the 7:03 mark. Shelton hit a 3 to cut it to 14, but the Pirates once again stretched it back out to 16. FSU cut it to 11 at one point before ECU hit a few free throws to conclude the contest.
The Broncos held their own on the glass, only being out rebounded 40-32 by the taller Pirates. Dawson led all players with seven assists.
FSU returns home with a contest against Brevard College at 4 p.m. on Saturday.