Chowan drops home opener to Barton, 74-67

Published 1:30 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

MURFREESBORO — Despite holding Barton College scoreless for over five minutes in the second half, Chowan University dropped its men’s basketball home opener to the Bulldogs 74-67 Tuesday night at the Helms Center.

Although Barton didn’t shoot well percentage-wise from the 3-point line, the Bulldogs hit the 3-balls at the right time. With 13:34 left in the contest, Barton’s Errol Frails hit a 3-pointer to put Barton up 53-46. The Bulldogs didn’t score again for five minutes as the Hawks moved into a stingy zone defense head coach Jim Tribbett calls the “amoeba” because it takes many different forms.

“I think in the second half we played better defense. They are a very explosive team with penetration and dribble and drive. I tried to match up with the shooters,” Tribbett said.

The plan worked for awhile, and Chowan was able to tie the game at 55-55 at the 9:29 mark when Mark Brown scored on a layup. Barton turned the ball over on its next two possessions, but the Hawks did not capitalize. With 8:35 to play, Barton recaptured the lead when Frails finally connected on a jumper.

Chowan had a tough time rebounding when Barton missed five straight shots on its next two possessions. Barton’s Kevin Pollard missed two free throws at the 6:12 mark.

Chowan took its last lead of the game at 5:34 when Chris Kenon missed a jumper, but Lando Morrison sailed above the rim and slammed home the rebound, electrifying the crowd, and giving the Hawks the 59-57 advantage.

The Hawks took some bad shots, and Barton capitalized, but the Hawks were still in the game with 1:04 to play when Jaleel Nelson drove the lane to cut the Barton lead to 68-65.

With 35 seconds left, Chowan’s Kenon attempted to take a charge but instead was called for a block, a move which was criticized by Tribbett after the game. Jaren Haley converted both free throws for the Bulldogs, upping the lead to 70-65.

Tribbett questioned the Hawks’ ability to put the game away at the end.

“They (Barton) got tired late and we went into the double stack and ran our offense, but our kids didn’t keep their poise,” he said. “I was disappointed because I thought we had enough veteran players on the floor once we took the lead to have a chance to close that game out. They made plays and we didn’t down the stretch.”

The Hawks (0-2) managed to stay in the game the first half by hitting 9-of-10 free throws while Barton (1-1) did not go to the foul line once the entire half. “That was a key. We are a good free throw shooting team,” Tribbett said.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Hawks. Chowan plays in the Mankato State Pepsi Classic on Friday and Saturday in Minneapolis. The tournament will include games against the University of South Dakota, a transitioning Division I school, and Mankato State University, the sixth ranked Division II school in the country. Chowan then plays at Virginia State on November 26, a team that beat Barton. Chowan returns home for a 4:00 p.m. November 30 matchup against St. Andrews University.