Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear men's basketball rallied late to defeat Caldwell Community College, 82-80. Jacque Brown led with 27 points on 10-15 shooting, while Trae Bryant finished with 23 points and five assists.
Both teams played with a lot of intensity in the first half. While Cape Fear led for most of it, the teams were evenly matched.
Jacque Brown got off to a good start, scoring five of his team's seven points in the first two minutes. The Sea Devils led by a small margin, but the Cobras kept it close, finding success attacking the basket. Brown continued to instigate the offense, and Cape Fear was able to jump out to a 17-6 lead. Bryant got involved as well, knocking down two 3-pointers in a row.
Cape Fear lead by as much as 11, but Caldwell fought back by pressing and forcing the home team into bad shots and a few turnovers. Following a technical foul on Cape Fear, the Cobras cut the lead to just two points.
Caldwell eventually took the lead with four and a half minutes remaining, starting a sequence of lead changes. After Caldwell took its second lead of the game, Brown responded with a 5-0 run to give his team a four point lead, but the Cobras prevented the run from going further, and the teams entered halftime tied at 40-40.
Brown was the halftime leader in points, scoring 15 on 6-7 shooting. Alonzo Tyson and Bryant contributed 9 points a piece, also shooting the ball well. Caldwell benefited from more balanced scoring, and 22 of their 40 first half points came from the bench.
The Cobras were hot to start the second half, and jumped out to a 53-44 lead. The Sea Devils responded by going on a 10-0 run, capped off by Alston Davis, who was fouled while throwing down a thunderous one handed dunk.
But Caldwell wasn't deterred, and responded with six straight of their own to retake the lead. Their press bothered Cape Fear, who committed a couple of sloppy turnovers attempting to get the ball across half court. The Cobras pushed their lead back to nine, with the Sea Devils struggling to create good offense.
"That's kind of been our MO all year," said of his team's poor play for parts of the second half. He added that the Sea Devils have gone through up and down stretches of play all season, but knew they were capable of making a late run.
Things got heated midway through the half, as a double technical was called on both teams following a scuffle under the basket. The momentum shifted in Cape Fear's favor following it. While they were able to close the gap, they remained behind.
After a few tightly contested minutes, Cape Fear tied it up with around two and a half minutes remaining. Caldwell took the lead soon after, and CFCC found themselves down two with under a minute remaining. Cape Fear caught a lucky break, however, as a loose ball fell to Bryant, who took it the other way and tied the game. After making a stop on the other end, Jacque Brown was fouled by a Caldwell defender with 3.6 seconds remaining, and knocked down both free throws to give them a two point lead. The Cobras couldn't get a shot off in time, and the Sea Devils escaped with the win.
Following the win, coach Mantlo had one word to describe the final minutes.
"Hectic. We knew it was going to be a battle, but our guys made some big time plays and found a way to come out with a much needed win."
The win improves Cape Fear to 20-4 on the season, and 5-2 in conference play.
Their next game is scheduled for Tuesday, February 14th, where they will take on Mount Zion Christian Academy at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
Courtesy of Nick Denning