Averett's rally Stuns Bishops

JR A.J. Frye, photo courtesy Carl Lewis
JR A.J. Frye, photo courtesy Carl Lewis

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - The N. C. Wesleyan College men's basketball team suffered a season-ending 82-78 defeat at the hands of rival Averett University's stunning comeback to oust the Bishops from the USA South Conference Tournament in Rocky Mount Tuesday evening.

Averett (Va.) went on a 20-8 run to end the game after Wesleyan got up by eight at 70-62 with 6:28 to play. NCWC was also leading 76-74 with 1:30 to play with Averett's Montre Cash hit a go-ahead three for the Cougars. Averett would then hold off the Bishops down the stretch and make their free throws for the win.

Wesleyan got out to a strong start to the game shooting 63 percent in the first half but Averett also shot the ball well at 53 % as they slowly trimmed the Bishops' lead as NCW would lead by just two, 44-42, at the break.

Averett then outshot the Bishops by 7 percent and made 7 more total baskets in the second half in outscoring Wesleyan 40-34 to grab the win. Wesleyan shot much better from three in the game, 39% - 25%, and made more free throws, but Averett would make 7 more total baskets and also out-rebound the Bishops 39-31 and 19-8 on the offense boards helping lead them to the upset win.

Averett improves to 9-17 on the season and will next face West #2 seed Maryville College on Friday at Covenant, Ga in the conference semis while Covenant hosts East #2 seed Methodist University.

Wesleyan was led by senior guard Chris Braswell's 26 points as he was 6 of 9 from three-point range. Junior center A.J. Frye also added 18 points and 3 assists, but just one rebound on the night.

Sophomore guard Damon McDowell was the final Bishop to score in double-figures with 10 points and 5 rebounds and a block. Fellow guard, Josh Covington, also played well finishing with 9 points and 3 assists while forwards Ricardo Bullock and Robert Wilson combined for 15 rebounds, but only 8 points.

NC Wesleyan finishes their season as East Division Champions with a 19-7 record, but also with a heart-wrenching loss.