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Late Stand

Deal, ECSU hold off Virginia State in women's basketball; ECSU men lose | w/Videos

Elizabeth City State 72 Virginia State 59

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Elizabeth City State's (ECSU) Asia Deal (with ball) shoots during the women's basketball game against Virginia State, Saturday, January 26, 2019 at the Vaughan Center.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Elizabeth City State women’s basketball team was in a closer than expected contest in the fourth quarter against Virginia State Saturday afternoon at the Vaughan Center.

When ECSU needed big baskets, it got them from Devona Stell, Asia Deal and Naterria Luster.

The Lady Vikings were able to hold off a fourth-quarter Virginia State surge to knock off the Trojans 72-59.

Luster scored 19 points with 10 rebounds, Deal added 19 points with five assists, while Jalyn Brown posted 15 points with four rebounds, three assists and three steals in the win.

The Lady Vikings took a 55-45 lead after three quarters.

VSU (7-10, 2-7 CIAA) opened the fourth on a 6-0 run that was fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers by Yazmen Hannah and Chrisanna Green to cut the deficit to 55-51.

Deal would break the scoring run with a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to put ECSU (13-8, 5-5 CIAA) up seven.

ECSU went up 60-51 off of a VSU turnover that led to a Brown layup.

VSU, which entered Saturday’s game in last place in the CIAA Northern Division, was able to get the deficit down to single digits again, but baskets inside by Luster, and Stell helped increase the lead.

ECSU women’s basketball coach Antonio O. Davis acknowledged that he was pleased with his team’s ability to keep its composure in the fourth quarter.

“That was a sign of growth for us as a new team,” Davis said. “We were very excited that they were able to weather the storm and hold off Virginia State at the end. We were able to execute our game plan in the fourth quarter, which I was very excited about.”

VSU kept it close via the 3-point shot in the final two quarters, as the Trojans were able to move the ball when ECSU went to zone to find decent shots.

Virginia State connected on 15-of-28 shots from behind the 3-point line in the second half.

Green led VSU with 15 points with 11 rebounds.

Virginia State opened the second half on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 39-32 with less than seven minutes in the third.

Luster provided scoring for ECSU in the third, which included a 3-pointer to increase ECSU’s lead to 44-35.

“Naterria is very aggressive on both ends of the court,” Davis said. “She’s a well-balanced player. We look for her to be consistent every night. She’s a very versatile player.”

The Lady Vikings would go up 49-35 with 3:31 to go in the third following a Brown 3-point play.

ECSU led by 15 points in the first half.

The Lady Vikings led 37-25 at intermission.

ECSU was aggressive on the defensive end as they held Virginia State to 13.3 percent (2-of-15) shooting in the first quarter points to take a 21-9 lead after the first.

Davis noted that the team being balanced and following the game plan led to ECSU’s success in the first quarter.

“Defensively, we had them taking shots that they didn’t really want to take,” he said. “We were able to put both ends together and score the ball as well.”

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Virginia State 69, Elizabeth City State 54: The Trojans (17-3, 8-0 CIAA) led by double-digits for the majority of the second half as they secured the CIAA Northern Division win Saturday.

Shyheid Petteway led ECSU (10-11, 6-4 CIAA) with 13 points.

He was the only player for the Vikings to score 10 or more points in the game.

The Vikings struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first five minutes of the second half.

Combined with defensive lapses, VSU took a 49-32 lead in the second half.

A Phillip Owens 3-pointer along with a steal and layup by VSU gave the Trojans a 60-38 lead with 9:47 to go in the second half.

The Vikings were able to trim the deficit to 60-47 with less than six minutes with baskets by Petteway.

That would be the closet ECSU got in the second half.

Brandon Holley led the division-leading Trojans with 15 points, while Jahmere Howze followed with 12 points.

ECSU men’s basketball coach Shawn Walker acknowledged that the team is having issues on the offensive end of the court in recent games.

“From us knowing where we are suppose to be and getting there to missing layups, to ill-advised shots and not letting the ball move, not sharing the ball the way we need to, we’re having offensive problems right now. We’ve got to get better.”

The coach added that it has to be fixed, especially playing in the difficult Northern Division.

Walker also acknowledged the defensive lapses by the Vikings.

“We are not playing well enough on either end of the floor to beat good teams,” he said. “We’re a work in progress. I know that, but we have to continue to get better.”

The Vikings shot an underwhelming 30.2 percent (19-of-63) from the field in the game.

ECSU had a good start to the contest.

The Vikings held an 8-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game.

Virginia State would battle back to take a 15-14 lead with less than 11 minutes to go in the first half.

VSU would lead by 14 points late in the first half, but a John Maynor buzzer beating shot from behind the 3-point line as time expired cut the VSU lead to 35-24 at intermission.

Tyjhai Byers provided energy on both ends of the floor for ECSU as the forward scored nine points, with seven rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes.

He brought the crowd to their feet with a dunk in the first half.

“He’s one of the guys that I think knows what he is suppose to do,” Walker said of Byers. The coach also praised Corey Mendez for his effort in the game.

Mendez scored eight points with nine rebounds, four assists and three steals for ECSU.

UPDATE ON HOBBS

According to Walker, ECSU guard Zaccheus Hobbs is home and resting.

Hobbs sustained a broken leg in the early stages of ECSU’s 82-79 overtime win at Winston-Salem State Jan. 14.

The coach added that Hobbs, a sophomore, remains a student at ECSU and is taking classes online.

“He will be home for the next six to eight weeks,” Walker said. “He’s getting better. He’s in good spirits. We talk to him every day.”

The coach added that not only does the team miss Hobbs’ presence around the team, but his contributions on the court.

“When we can’t get a bucket, normally Zach’s the guy that can get one for us,” Walker said.

FIGHT AGAINST CANCER

Saturday’s doubleheader featured ECSU’s campaign to raise awareness about cancer.

ECSU held a Sager Strong Day in honor of former NBA broadcaster Craig Sager, who died in 2016 after a battle with cancer.

Sager was known for wearing colorful and unique suits during NBA telecast.

In homage to Sager, ECSU coaches wore similar suits against Virginia State.

“Anytime you support cancer research and anything associated with it, you’re always excited about it,” Davis said. “We were definitely on board.”

At halftime of the men’s basketball game, First Flight High School boys’ basketball coach Chad Williams was recognized for his Good Guys vs. Cancer boys basketball invitational that was held last month at the high school.

According to ECSU, the invitational raised nearly $8,000.

Along with Williams at midcourt were Camden boys’ basketball coach Mark Harnly and Gates boys’ basketball coach Katron Greene.

Julie Everett, who is battling cancer, was also recognized at halftime of the men’s game and acknowledged the support that she has received from the ECSU women’s basketball team.

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