Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 24, 2013

Notre Dame fights past Mountain Lions in MEC hoops

By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS — Star basketball players from Concord’s past were in the stands Saturday for the dedication of the playing floor as the Christie / Cox Court. The current edition of the Mountain Lions could have used some of that star power.

In their first Mountain East Conference game, Concord gave up a couple of second-half runs and fell to the Falcons of Notre Dame College 92-82 at the Carter Center.

Kent McBride, Concord’s head coach, said, “We knew it was going to be a battle of pace. We knew they wanted to slow the game down and play very under control, in the half court. We were trying to speed them up, due to (their) lack of depth. And we didn’t. We couldn’t speed them up.”

“We had to play their game, and they did it better than we did.”

The Falcons (1-3) shot 50.7 percent from the field and outscored the Mountain Lions in fast-break points 12 to 2. But Notre Dame first-year head coach Tim Koenig was prouder of their 40 rebounds.

“We’ve been getting beat 16, 17, 18 a game,” he said. “The guys really competed on the glass.”

Koenig said, “The guys did a great job moving the basketball, screening, finding the open man.” He said the victory was “a full team effort, all 11 guys.”

“Concord, they’re a very good team,” he said. “They’ve got multiple guys that can score it; they’ve got length, they’ve got athleticism. We’re just very fortunate to come here and get the win.”

Though the home team fell behind 9-2 to start, Concord (2-2) chipped away and took a three-point lead on a field goal and two foul shots by guard Mike Boyd in the final two minutes of the first half.

Jarvis Huntley of Notre Dame scored three straight baskets to give the Falcons a 43-40 edge at halftime.

Concord’s 6-foot-8 forward Terry Hopewell gave the Mountain Lions their largest advantage, 52-47, early in the second half. But it turned out to be temporary due to unexpected foul trouble.

McBride said, “Terry came out in the second half and started playing well. He got a couple of chippy calls that put him on the bench.”

Notre Dame soon went on a 15-3 splurge for a 65-58 lead. Concord went on its own 10-4 run to close the gap to 69-68, but the Falcons’ Kalomo Figueroa-Jackson started sinking three-pointers and the home team was not able to respond.

Hopewell contributed 16 points, a team-high nine rebounds and two blocks for Concord. A.J .Williams made seven of his 12 field-goal tries and all four of his foul shots to end with 19 points. Boyd had 12 points and eight assists. Ali Barnes was CU’s fourth double-digit scorer with 11 points.

Concord had 41 rebounds and recorded its best foul-shooting night of the season, going 22 of 30.

Notre Dame, which turned the ball over just eight times, got 31 points from Huntley and 22 from guard Tyree Gaiter, who had eight assists. Deon DeArmond and Figueroa-Jackson also reached double figures.

Concord used 12 men, seeking a quality of play that ultimately was missing.

McBride said, “We have depth. At least, I thought we did. We’re going to have to look at the way we’re playing. We’re going to have to look at what we’re doing. The things we’re asking to get done right now aren’t getting done, so it’s time for other people to get a shot.”

With Urbana University arriving at the Carter Center for a Monday afternoon game, McBride said, “We don’t have time to really dwell on this one. ... By the time practice comes tomorrow, we’ve got to be ready to go and re-focus.”

“It’s early in the year. We can either learn from it — or we won’t.”

There is no admission charge for Monday’s doubleheader that starts with the women’s game at 1 p.m.

 — Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com