Saint Augustine's University was in another cliffhanger early Thursday morning (March 1) in the CIAA Tournament.
This time, the Falcons fell short 65-53 to Fayetteville State University on the second day of the tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena. The loss ends the season for the Falcons, who finished 14-14 overall. Fayetteville State reached the men's quarterfinals where they will take on defending league champion Shaw Thursday at 9 p.m.
The Falcons advanced to play the Broncos (10-16 overall) after junior forward Jon Kindred (Raleigh, N.C.) hit a buzzer beater Tuesday at the top of the key. There would be no last-second heroics this time for the Falcons, the No. 6 Southern Division seed.
The Falcons led 52-49 with 5:05 left on two free throws by sophomore guard Chris Rhodes (Greenville, S.C.). The Broncos closed out the contest with a 16-1 run that decided the winner. It was a disappointing end to a tight game which featured 15 lead changes, but Falcon head coach Ken Spencer was not about to hang his head after the loss.
“We won nine games last year and 14 games this season,” said Spencer, a second-year coach. “The program has made strides and will continue to improve.”
For the second consecutive night, Tyquan Stroman (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) led the team in scoring. The junior forward popped in a game-high 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Sophomore guard Joel Kindred (Raleigh, N.C.) added 12 points and sophomore guard Tyron Laughinghouse (Greenville, N.C.) chipped in seven.
The Falcons made the most of their free throw opportunities. They were 20-for-25 for 80 percent, which tied for the second highest free throw percentage this season. Every made free throw was needed because the Falcons shot poorly (32 percent) from the floor, especially behind the three-point arc (1-for-14 for 7.1 percent).
The Broncos countered with solid three-point shooting and strong inside play. They were 6-for-16 behind the arc for 37.5 percent. Their overall shooting percentage was 43.6 percent for the game.
Inside player Tyrell Tate had 14 points and nine rebounds and frontcourt mate John Herrington added 11 points. The Broncos outscored the Falcons 28-16 in the paint and were the better rebounding team (39-32).
After beating Lincoln the night before, the Falcons appeared ready to pull off another late night win. They seized momentum around the eight-minute mark in the first half, twice opening seven point leads. The Falcons went into the halftime leading 31-26.
A layup by senior forward Darrell Glass (Washington, D.C.) to begin the second half gave the Falcons another seven-point lead. His basket woke up the Broncos, who reeled off seven points in a row to tie the score at 33-33. The game was tight the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than three points until the Broncos pulled away late.
This was the final contest for seniors Glass and Jeremy Banks G/Elizabeth City, N.C.). Laughinghouse, an All-CIAA football standout, will stay solely on the gridiron next year where he will be a senior.
“They leave the program in much better shape than where it was when I started last year,” said Spencer, who returns 15 players. “They will be missed.”
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