11/14/06 — Pickle Preview -- Chowan

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Pickle Preview -- Chowan

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on November 14, 2006 1:47 PM

Since the first of the year, quite a bit has happened at Chowan University. For one, the former Chowan College gained university status. For another, the school changed its nickname from Braves to Hawks.

On the court, Chowan transformed from a basketball team struggling to reach .500 to a team that came just two wins short of capturing a national championship.

Chowan, a finalist at last year's Pickle Classic, returns to Kornegay Arena to compete in the 41st Annual Pickle Classic at Mount Olive College. The Hawks take on Coker Friday at 6 p.m. in the tournament opener. Tournament host Mount Olive faces Ohio Valley at 8 p.m.

The consolation game is slated for Saturday at 4:30 p.m., followed by the championship game at 6:30 p.m.

Chowan overcame a 4-8 start to finish with a 19-11 record. The Hawks opened the New Year with a 12-game winning streak and won 15 of their last 18 games.

An independent which is in its second year of reclassifying to NCAA Division II, Chowan posted wins over Palm Beach Atlantic (Fla.) and Emmanuel (Ga.) to win the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Regional and advance to the NCCAA's version of the Elite Eight at Oakland City, Ind.

Chowan entered the national finals as the No. 1 seed and defeated No. 8 seed Central Baptist (Ark.) 76-73 in the quarterfinal round. But the Hawks' quest for a national championship came to an end with a 77-73 loss to fifth-seeded Oakland City.

The Hawks defeated No. 6 seed Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) 85-59 in the third-place game.

Chowan returns four starters from last year's squad, including three who averaged in double figures. A pair of 6-6 seniors -- Marcus Artis and Trayvon Latham -- combined for 30 points and 16 rebounds per game last season. Artis tallied double-doubles in each of the Hawks' five playoff games.

At last year's Pickle Classic, Chowan defeated UNC Pembroke 74-61 in the first round before falling to Mount Olive 105-75 in the championship game.

Regardless of the outcomes in this year's Pickle Classic, Chowan and Mount Olive are assured of facing each other at least once this season. The two teams play each other December 29 at the UNC Pembroke Classic.