CHARLOTTE N.C. – Junior guard Amere May (South Haven, Mich.) poured in 37 points as Saint Augustine’s University shot 51 percent in a 79-73 men’s first-round basketball contest in the CIAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday, February 25, 2014.
With the win, the Falcons head to the quarterfinal round to face crosstown rival Shaw University at 7:20 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. The Falcons were 1-1 against the Bears in their regular-season series.
“It is a rubber match between us and Shaw,” said St. Aug Head Coach Tony Sheals, who captured his first CIAA Tournament coaching victory in his first game. “We are good neighbors. Both teams are evenly matched.”
Senior guard Joel Kindred (Raleigh, N.C.) added 13 points, including three straight free throws in the final 12 seconds to clinch the victory for the Falcons, who snapped an eight-game losing streak. The Falcons led 76-73 before Kindred sealed the win with his free throws. Kindred also had seven rebounds.
“The main thing was to make [the free throws] and advance to the next day,” Kindred said. “Like coach says; slow down, take your time and put it through the net.”
Phoenix Butler-Poole led the Hawks with a career-high 31 points. The All-CIAA forward made 10-of-16 shots and 8-of-11 free throws. Ashante Ross added 14 points and Kyree Bethel scored 10 points for the Hawks, who shot 38 percent. Butler-Poole scored Chowan’s first seven points, including a three-pointer, for a 7-4 lead. Ross added a jumper for a five-point margin. The Falcons began to heat up from that point. They scored 21 consecutive points for a 25-9 lead.
The Hawks rallied within three points on a three-pointer and two free throws from Ross. May drained back-to-back threes for a 37-28 Falcons’ lead with 1:32 remaining in the half. His fourth try right before the half put the Falcons up 40-30. May had 20 points at halftime on 8-for-10 shooting, including 4-of-5 three-pointers for the Falcons, who shot 59 percent in the first half. Butler-Poole scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Hawks, who shot 35 percent.
The Falcons opened the second half with a 12-point lead on baskets by Kindred and junior forward Tashaun Stockdale (Poplar, SC). St. Aug maintained control until the 8:02 mark when Tiron Brown of the Hawks nailed a three-pointer to slice the Falcons lead to 59-58. Kindred scored a layup for a 72-64 lead, but the Bethel hit a three and Ross converted a three-point play to get the Hawks within 72-70 with 2:54 left.
The Falcons made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to get the win. Senior center Jonathan Crawley (Richmond, VA) and freshman guard Anthony Gaskins (Greenville, NC) both made two free throws and Kindred was 3-of-4 including the last three free throws to send the Falcons to the quarterfinals.
The Falcons defeated the Hawks for the third time this season after sweeping the regular-season series. But May knew the Hawks would be a handful in the CIAA Tournament. “Chowan is a great team,” May said. “It is hard to beat a team three times in a row.”
The Falcons needed a big game from May in addition to defense, rebounding and clutch free throw shooting to keep its season going. The Hawks simply had no answer for the junior sharpshooter. “He was a handful to keep in front of us,” Chowan Head Coach Brett Vincent said. The Falcons outrebounded the Hawks 39-28. The Falcons also made 25-of-33 free throws for 76 percent compared to 20-of-30 free throws for 67 percent for the Hawks.