(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- Led by another strong performance from senior Michael Hull, the Charleston Bluejays picked up their second win of the Riverbend Classic on Saturday in a tightly contested game against North Little Rock, Ark.
Hull provided the Bluejays with 28 points on the night, to finish the weekend with 53 in two games, as Charleston held on to a late lead to fend off the Wildcats 72-69.
"I thought the team we played (Friday) was talented as well, but (North Little Rock) was really good," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said. "I think they had about three Division-I prospects on that team. But we kept our composure and kept it close.
"I figured if we can keep it close we can win it in the end."
Through the first three quarters neither team was able to create much separation.
But, early in the fourth, an 11-0 run by the Wildcats stole the lead from Charleston and gave North Little Rock a 58-52 advantage with 5:33 to play.
The Bluejays closed their deficit to four points before a technical and foul on the floor allowed Hull to go 3 of 4 from the line to make it a 60-59 with four minutes left in regulation.
Hull's three points kick-started a 10-1 run by the Bluejays where they retook the lead before pushing ahead 66-61 with 1:31 left in regulation.
A few missed free throws with just over a minute to go by Charleston allowed the Wildcats to stay in the game as Ronald McCuien hit a 3-pointer with 25 seconds to leave his team only down by one.
On the Bluejays next possession, Shandor Webster took a pass from Trey Watkins before scoring in the paint, pushing the Bluejays lead back out to three at 72-69.
After missing a pair of free throws that would have closed their deficit back to a point, North Little Rock had a chance to tie on a last second 3-pointer.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, it bounced off the rim as Charleston moved to 2-0 on the young season.
"We made lots of mistakes to keep them in the game there at the end," Farmer said. "But it's a learning experience against a very good team."
To lead the Bluejays' effort, Hull went 9 of 26 from the field and 7 of 8 at the free throw line for a total of 28 points. He added six rebounds and three steals to his team's effort. Darrion Carter was second on the squad with 18 points while Webster finished with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
"I think we played well tonight," Hull said. "We started off a little shaky, but we got our composure back and played well."
For North Little Rock, Kevaugh Allen had a team-high 23 points with Day Shawn Watkins following close behind with 22.
CHARLESTON (72) -- Delfinko Bogan 2, Ryan Parham 8, Michael Hull 28, Trey Watkins 2, Sumner Foster 2, Shandor Webster 12, Darrion Carter 18. FG 27, FT 14-22, F 18. (3-pointers: Hull 3, Webster 1. Fouled out: Webster.)
LITTLE ROCK (69) -- Kevaughn Allen 23, Ronald McCuien 4, DayShawn Watkins 22, Robert Verges 1, Thomas Alexander 10, Derrick Holloway 2, Nicholas Scott 3, Matthew Terry 4. FG 25, FT 18-26, F 23. (3-pointers: McCuien 1. Fouled out: Verges, Alexander.)