12/16/12 — Defensive switch helps Tigers ease past Rebels

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Defensive switch helps Tigers ease past Rebels

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 16, 2012 1:52 AM

WARSAW -- James Kenan scrapped its man-to-man defense, switched to a 2-3 zone and found its rhythm against county foe North Duplin on Friday evening.

Frontcourt mates Kinder Georges and Nick Taylor combined for 16 second-half points and nine rebounds during a 66-50, non-conference victory inside Harmon Gym.

Taylor pumped in a team-high 14 points and starting guard Kashawn Ammons added 12 for the Tigers, who improved to 3-2 overall with second-year head coach Jeff Lane. Greg Washington added 11 points and seven rebounds.

"I wasn't happy with the way we played and I think everyone could see that, but I think a lot of that had to do with North Duplin," Lane said. "It's a rivalry game. They definitely came out to play and I take my hat off to them for that.

"I felt like we didn't have the effort early on. As time went on, I think we got a little bit more (effort) but not as much as I would have liked."

Cedrick Kornegay drained a 3-pointer on the Rebels' opening possession of the game. The Tigers answered with a 17-3 run, but watched that advantage slowly disappear as the quarter progressed.

Point guard Tyler Royal, who led all scorers with 22 points, and Cody Ivey helped North Duplin climb to within 17-14 after eight minutes of play. Ivey drained a 3-pointer off Royal's assist during the run.

The Rebels pulled to within 17-16, but could neither get key stops on defense nor convert that critical offensive possession to give them the lead. The Tigers stretched their lead to 23-16 and eventually led 32-28 at halftime.

"We had the deer in the headlights (look) at times," Lane said. "Number 34 (Royal) really killed us at times in the first half. We couldn't guard him in our man (defense), so at halftime we decided to go to a zone."

The defensive change worked.

Taylor, Georges and Washington controlled the boards. The Tigers opened up their transition game and Ammons converted two circus-like shots, which created some breathing room.

James Kenan matched its biggest lead, 47-36, after three periods.

North Duplin (0-8) pulled within single digits early in the final quarter, but couldn't get any closer. Georges, who had five fourth-quarter rebounds, and Taylor worked well together inside.

Guard TK Owens shot 5 of 5 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes and ended up with nine points. The Tigers converted 28 field goals compared to 18 for the Rebels.