(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Pushing their current winning streak to seven games, the Charleston Bluejays rode a second half surge to a Homecoming win Saturday afternoon, defeating the visiting Union City, Tenn., Golden Tornadoes 59-52.
"I thought we played well in the second half," Charleston's Gregory Tucker said. "We stepped it up defensively. They started forcing shots, kind of got tired and couldn't keep up with the pace."
Down by seven coming out of the break, the Bluejays (16-5) opened the third with their biggest run of the game to take the lead for the first time less than two minutes into the frame.
Kicking things off, Charleston's Jerry Carter hit a bucket to open the half before connecting on a 3-point shot from the left corner a short time later to close in on the Golden Tornadoes lead.
Just 40 seconds later, Claude Armstrong gave the Bluejays their first advantage of the afternoon when he was fouled going for a basket in the paint, hitting the bucket and ensuing free throw to put Charleston up 39-38.
With 5:42 left in the quarter, Carter capped the Bluesjays 10-0 run by hitting his final basket of the night to extend his team's advantage to three.
Though a timeout by Union City (13-16) soon after Carter's bucket allowed the Golden Tornadoes to regroup, Charleston was able to maintain a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"The second half we came back and responded on the defensive end," Armstrong said. "We controlled the tempo more and stopped their 3-point shooting."
There, the Bluejays opened up the frame on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to nine with 4:16 to play before slowing down their offense and trying to eat away at the remaining time.
Coming up empty handed on three of their next four possessions, the Golden Tornadoes finally closed to within five on a Peyton Mosley basket in the paint with 1:19. Forced to foul the rest of the way, however, Union City watched Charleston hit four of their final six free throws to seal the game.
"We did what we had to do to win," Bluejays' head coach Danny Farmer said. "We played real smart there in the end."
A big part of Charleston's second half success proved to be their ability to keep Union City's biggest scoring threat, Antonio Cox, from controlling the game.
After scoring 24 of his team's 38 first half points, Cox was limited to only six second half points, all in the third quarter.
"That was our game plan was to wear him down and somehow find the energy to win ourselves," said Farmer. "We had to shut him down and control the boards."
Golden Tornadoes head coach Shane Sisco acknowledged the Bluejays success on the boards, along with turnovers, led to his team's second half collapse.
"The difference in the ball game was just the number of second chances we gave up to them," he said. "We gave them 16 offensive rebounds and then in the second half we turned it over 11 times.
"The reason we were able to stay in the game in the first half is that we (only) had three turnovers."
|Union City, Tenn.||18||20||8||6||-||52|
UNION CITY, TENN. (52) -- Antonio Cox 30, Russ Smith 12, Peyton Mosley 10. FG 19, FT 8-9, F 22. (3-pointers: Cox 6. Fouled out: LaMonte Dickerson, Russ Smith)
CHARLESTON (59) -- Maurice Moore 3, Ryan Parham 9, Trey Watkins 2, Gregory Tucker 18, Jamaul Grey 4, Claude Armstrong 9, Jerry Carter 12, Krushon Scott 2. FG 16, FT 23-29, F 11. (3-pointers: Tucker 2, Carter 2. Fouled out: none)
|Union City, Tenn.||14||3||15||22||-||54|
UNION CITY, TENN. (54) -- Lamonte Dickerson 14, Jamie Hyde 8, Jalen Mosley 11, Jakyron Burnside 14, Travis Rutland 7. FG 20, FT 5-10, F 18. (3-pointers: Mosley 3, Dickerson 2, Hyde 2, Rutland 2. Fouled out: Rutland)
CHARLESTON (59) -- Casey tatum 1, Will Davis 2, Maurice Moore 9, Mike Kellum 4, Robert Bogan 7, Da'Marcquelle Pittman 4, Timontrell Horton 2, Jamaul Gray 10, Ja'Marcquelle Pittman 5, Sumner Foster 4, Shandor Webster 7, Trey Watkins 4. FG 19, FT 17-30, F 10. (3-pointers: Moore 2, Ja'Marcquelle Pittman 1, Webster 1. Fouled out: none)