Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 10, 2014

Missing defense

Golden Eagles shoot past Concord

By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS — Normally when a team shoots over 50 percent from the floor they are victorious on the scoreboard. Such was not the case Thursday night at the Carter Center at Concord University as the homestanding Mountain Lions tickled the twine to the tune of 52 percent, but dropped an 81-73 decision to the University of Charleston Golden Eagles.

“We can’t defend,” said Concord head coach Kent McBride. “If you look at the stats, we shot more than 50 percent and when you shoot over 50 percent you shouldn’t lose. It’s pretty simple. I went back and forth whether it’s schematic or not, I don’t know. But when we decide defense matters, we might turn the corner. Until then this losing streak will continue.”

With the loss the Concord losing streak stands at five. However, during the game it appeared at times that the Mountain Lions may snap their skid.

CU forced ties early at four and six and took its first lead when Mike Boyd went coast-to-coast for a basket with 13:25 to play in the opening half. Charleston however, then went on a 7-0 run.

The Lions closed the gap. Terry Hopewell’s basket made it a three-point game and his baseline hook shot brought the home team to within a point of Charleston. Moments later Cam Shannon’s driving lay up gave CU the lead and the advantage grew to four on B.J. Hamlet’s trey. Late in the half Boyd’s jumper from the right elbow gave the Lions their biggest lead of the half, six points 37-31. Concord led 41-36 at halftime.

Shannon was key for Concord in the opening half as he was four-for-four from the field. The Mountain Lions shot an impressive 62 percent in the first half.

“We knew we had a mismatch and Cam took advantage of a couple of those he had in transition before the defense set up,” McBride said. “We look for him to do that, especially when he has a strength and speed advantage as he did.”

Concord maintained its lead early I n the second half, but foul trouble put Charleston into the bonus only four minutes into the half and they began to whittle away at the lead. After a 58-all tie, UC took the lead and never relinquished it. The biggest margin coming at 11 points with just under three minutes to play.

Three Concord players scored in double digits, led by A.J. Williams with 18, Boyd with 14 and Aaron Miller with 11. The teams tied in rebounding with both pulling down 32 boards. Shannon and Williams grabbed four each, while Hopewell and Grant Dickinson each cleared the glass four times. Hopewell had three blocks while Boyd dished out seven assists.

Aleksander Kesic led Charleston and all scorers with 24 points. Tino diTrapano added 13, Denzel Douglas 12 and Xavier Humphreys 10. Fred Simpson had seven rebounds off the bench and Humphreys cleared six.

Charleston is 7-4, 4-3 in conference play, while Concord is 5-8, 2-5 in the Mountain East.

“I’m just so disappointed in our defensive effort. When you give up 81, it’s pretty simple to look at where the problem is,” McBride said. “We practice it and we practice it and we can’t take it to the game. I don’t know if it’s players, coaching. I’ll do my part. I hope the players do their part, but until that changes this will continue.”

Concord travels to Fairmont State on Saturday.