11/19/08 — Rocky Mount thwarts late Goldsboro rally

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Rocky Mount thwarts late Goldsboro rally

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 19, 2008 1:59 PM

The Chris Cherry era didn't begin with a victory, but the effort the first-year Goldsboro men's basketball coach coaxed out of his team on Tuesday evening could be a sign that numerous wins aren't too far off.

The Cougars (0-1 overall) rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit and led visiting Rocky Mount heading into the fourth quarter before falling 94-86 on Tuesday evening.

"I told my kids that's a heck of a basketball team we played tonight," said Cherry. "We feel like we're pretty good, too."

The Cougars led 71-68 entering the final quarter but a 12-3 Rocky Mount run quickly had the Gryphons in front 80-74. Donald Lewis knocked down a 3 and a pair of free throws to trim the deficit to 88-84 with less than three minutes to play.

Following Tashawn Mabry's layup for Rocky Mount, Keovanta McDuffie's jumper pulled Goldsboro to within 90-86. A pair of Kareem Brown layups in the closing moments sealed the win for Rocky Mount.

Implementing Cherry's up-tempo full court style of play, the Cougars outscored the Gryphons 29-15 during the third quarter with help from four 3-pointers by Lewis and 11 points from McDuffie.

McDuffie and Mabry each finished with 37 points, while Lewis scored 23 and knocked down seven 3's.

"In the second half, I thought we got after it," said Cherry. "I was very proud of the effort. You can't fault their effort, that's what they gave me tonight. Kevo's a heck of a leader and he's a warrior out there on the court."

The Gryphons opened the game on a 12-2 run that was capped by Mabry's dunk. After Cherry used a quick timeout, Goldsboro responded and used a 14-7 run at the end of the quarter to slice the margin to 28-27.

"They've been in this system all of eight or nine days," said Cherry. "They were a little shell-shocked at first and we talked about it before the game. 'If things don't go well early, remember it's a long game.'"

The Cougars entertain Southern Wayne on Thursday.