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Needed Victory

College Basketball | ECSU ends losing skid, tops Bowie State | w/Videos

Elizabeth City State 60 Bowie State 55

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Elizabeth City State's Joseph Allen (with ball) shoots during the men's basketball game against Bowie State, Saturday.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Sunday, February 24, 2019

It has been a difficult stretch for the Elizabeth City State men’s basketball team.

Losers of three consecutive and four of their last five games, the Vikings needed a win in their regular-season finale against Bowie State Saturday at the Vaughan Center.

The Vikings battled in the final minutes and were able to secure a 60-55 victory over the Bulldogs to snap the three-game losing streak.

Joseph Allen paced ECSU (13-15, 9-8 CIAA) with 12 points and eight rebounds, Justin Faison followed with 11 points and three assists, while Corey Mendez and Shyheid Petteway scored nine points each in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Northern Division contest.

ECSU held a 56-50 lead with less than two minutes to go.

The late stages of the game was a meat grinder as both teams, which were in the bonus, went to the free-throw line.

BSU’s Cameron Hayes converted on two free throws to cut the deficit to four points.

After a BSU foul, Mendez made one out of two from the line to put ECSU up five points.

The Vikings were able to get a stop with less than a minute to go.

Faison then went to the line and missed two free throws with 40 seconds to go.

On BSU’s next possession, Juwan Smith converted on two free throws to cut the deficit to 57-54.

That would be as close as the Bulldogs (16-12, 12-5 CIAA) would get.

“Every game is a grind for us, whether we win or lose,” ECSU men’s basketball coach Shawn Walker said. “Both of our games were close for the most part. We seem to be good enough to be in the game. If we can play smart enough down the stretch, we can figure out a way to win.”

ECSU lost the first meeting of the season to Bowie State 88-87 in double overtime Feb. 2.

It wasn’t the most impressive offensive performance for the Vikings Saturday, but they did enough.

ECSU shot 21-for-47 (44.7 percent) from the field, while holding Bowie State to 16-of-54 (29.6 percent) shooting in the contest.

“Our defense was really good,” Walker said.

Walker noted that ECSU was able to keep BSU out of transition, for the most part, in the contest.

Bowie State ended the game with four fast break points.

Trailing 45-44, Faison sparked a 5-0 run for ECSU as the guard connected on a 3-pointer and finished on a layup after a defensive stop to give ECSU a 49-45 advantage.

A Mendez jumper gave ECSU a 51-45 lead with 5:58 to go.

The Bulldogs battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit to start the second half.

BSU found an offensive rhythm around midway in the second half as the Bulldogs went on an 11-4 run to cut the deficit to 38-37 with 11:37 to go.

Part of the slow pace in the second half was 12 team fouls called between both teams in the first eight minutes.

BSU entered the 1-and-1 with 11:12 to go and tied the game at 39-all.

Bowie State took a 41-39 lead with 10:28 in the second half after a pair of free throws by Yohance Fleming.

It was a slow start to the game for the Vikings.

ECSU (12-15, 8-8) trailed 13-6 in the early moments of the half.

ECSU went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 13-all.

The Vikings were able to find success inside, as guard Omar Roberts was able to find Allen inside.

ECSU would take the lead and hold a 27-18 advantage with less than five minutes remaining in the half.

ECSU led by 11 points in the half as the Vikings took a 32-22 lead at halftime.

The Vikings were efficient in the first 20 minutes as they shot 12-of-24 (50 percent) from the field.

Saturday’s game was the last home game for seniors Petteway, Mendez and Charles Woods.

Woods scored four points in the contest.

“It’s a unique senior day because I have only known these guys for seven to eight months,” Walker said. “They have been really good. All three of those guys are relatively positive guys... Three extremely smart young men. All three will graduate. All three will be ambassadors to Elizabeth City State and be very successful in life.”

As the Vikings enter the CIAA tournament next week, Walker is pleased the team is healthy, for the most part, outside of Zaccheus Hobbs, who is out of the season with a broken leg.

Hobbs was in attendance at Saturday’s game in a wheelchair.

“[Saturday]’s win was important for us,” Walker said. “Whoever we play will be a tough game.”

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Bowie State 68, Elizabeth City State 46: With two minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Jalyn Brown took a look at the scoreboard.

Brown, a senior, not only saw Elizabeth City State trailing Bowie State, it also symbolized the countdown to her final home game as a Lady Viking.

Four seasons of work at the Vaughan Center officially came to an end with near a minute left in the game.

As she was subbed out of the game, ECSU women’s basketball coach Antonio O. Davis gave Brown a hug and Brown was greeted by her teammates on the bench.

It likely wasn’t the ending Brown wanted.

Her contributions to the program were noted during the senior ceremony before the men’s basketball game as Davis presented Brown a framed No. 11 jersey.

Her family along with member of the Riverside High School girls’ basketball team escorted Brown to center court.

Brown’s ECSU teammates would soon greet Brown at mid-court.

Brown acknowledged that the senior ceremony was a great experience.

“I love ECSU,” she said. “It will always be my home. I’m over-flooded with joy.”

She was appreciative of her family and friends being with her at the ceremony.

“It doesn’t seem real, but I’m soaking it all in,” Brown said. “It probably won’t hit me until later, but I’m enjoying the moment. It doesn’t feel like my last time. I know that I’ll always be able to come back to ECSU.”

She added that having current members of her former high school basketball team make the trip from Williamston to Elizabeth City meant she helped build a foundation for the Riverside program.

“My gift is to lay the foundation for others,” Brown said. “So the same way that I did it at Riverside High School in Williamston, I wanted to come here to Elizabeth City and keep the foundation going... I showed my teammates how to keep the program moving. I showed them how to be a leader. I showed them how to be a Viking.”

Brown, who is currently in graduate school, acknowledged that ECSU has had an impact on her life.

“ECSU has taught me how to adjust,” she said. “It has taught me how to embrace change. It has taught me how to endure and most importantly it taught me how to be resilient and be committed through whatever you are going through.”

As for the game, ECSU (13-15, 5-12 CIAA) trailed 36-22 at halftime and opened the third quarter with pressure on defense, which led the Bowie State turnovers.

ECSU went on an 8-2 run in the first two minutes to cut the deficit to 38-30.

The early success would evaporate as BSU converted on ECSU turnovers to fuel a 9-0 run to take a 47-30 lead with 5:40 to go in the third.

Bowie State (22-4, 14-3 CIAA) led by 24 points in the third.

Brown along with Devona Stell finished with 11 points each.

Pere Alexander led Bowie State with 16 points.

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