ROBINSON, BRONCOS HAVE FUN IN PICKING UP WIN FSU shifting its focus to a road game against CIAA foe St. Paul's on Saturday night
FSU's Ariel Robinson
Jan. 14, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - Ariel Robinson just wanted to feel like a kid again.
Struggling recently to find his range after getting his season off to a torrid start, Robinson (Sr., Coral Springs, FL) took a moment his week to reflect on why he ever picked up a basketball in the first place.
"When I was a little kid and started playing, it was just to have fun," Robinson said after his 17-point performance in the Fayetteville State Broncos' comfortable 74-59 victory over Lincoln on Thursday night. "I just went back to that - just have fun and play hard and laugh a little bit. That was all."
To this, Fayetteville State head coach Alphonza Kee, sitting next to the Broncos' leading scorer and one of the CIAA's deadliest long-range shooters, asked, in good humor it should be noted, but with just the right amount of incredulity, "I don't make it fun?"
"Oh no, you do," responded Robinson. "But I wasn't making it fun myself."
"Oh, oh," said Kee. "I thought you were saying I didn't make it fun so you had to make it fun for yourself. OK."
"Nah, nah," said Robinson, eager to get out of the hole Kee had dug for him. "I didn't say you don't make it fun out there. I just want to have fun out there."
And so it was on Thursday night, as the Broncos (6-6, 2-2) built a 24-point lead in the second half on the strength of five 3-pointers from the 6-foot-5 Robinson, who has spent much of the season as the CIAA's top 3-point shooter. Fayetteville State attacked and pressured Lincoln from the start, getting steals in the backcourt and getting out into the open floor for several easy baskets in transition.
With the game in hand, the Broncos even got into highlight-reel mode, with 6-2 slasher Tim Plummer (Jr., Apex, NC) skying into the air to catch a lob pass from Andre Best (So., Raleigh, NC) for a thunderous alley-oop dunk that brought the sizable Capel crowd to his feet late in the game.
The game was in stark contrast to those the Broncos have played recently. Three of Fayetteville State's last four games coming into Thursday night's contest had been decided by a combined eight points, with two of those resulting in two-point losses on the road. But in this one, against a weary Lincoln team that had played one of the Southern Division's top teams in Johnson C. Smith barely 24 hours before, the Broncos were content to let their running style wear the Lions down.
And, clearly, they had fun in the process.
"When you play at home, you get comfortable, and we'll have a night coming soon where we put it all together, and tonight we moved one step closer," said Kee.
"When I was a little kid and started playing, it was just to have fun. I just went back to that - just have fun and play hard and laugh a little bit. That was all."
The Broncos now must take that intensity - and, let's face it, joy and swagger - to Lawrenceville, VA, where they will play St. Paul's (3-7, 0-3) at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Like the Broncos, who lead the CIAA in scoring with 82.2 ppg, the Tigers have little trouble scoring the ball, averaging 74.4 ppg, which ranks sixth in the league. Three Tigers' players rank in the top 20 in scoring in the CIAA - Ibn-Saed Rasoull (15.2 ppg, 8th), Maurice Reevey (14.2 ppg, 11th) and Kendrick Williams (12.0 ppg, 19th). Five St. Paul's players average in double figures scoring, with another just a tick under 10 ppg.
St. Paul's has lost a game by double figures just once this season, an 86-72 defeat to Shaw on the road. On Jan. 4, the Tigers defeated Winston Salem State 93-84.
Fayetteville State should enjoy the return of 6-7 center John Herrington (Jr., Jacksonville, NC), who sat out the Lincoln game with a case of food poisoning. Herrington has emerged as a reliable post threat for the Broncos both on the glass - he grabbed a total of 17 offensive rebounds in games against Bowie State and Chowan - and in scoring, notching career highs of 17 points and 15 rebounds while making the game-winning shot against Chowan on Jan. 8.
The Fayetteville State Lady Broncos (2-10, 1-3), fresh off a 61-53 victory over Lincoln on Thursday night, will play St. Paul's (1-9, 0-4) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.