Wilmington, NC - Thanks to 27 points and 9 rebounds from Alonzo Tyson, Cape Fear men's basketball defeated Clinton Junior College 107-88 on Sophomore Night. Along with Tyson, the Sea Devils were led by 19 points from Tai-He Jeter.
The game was played at a high tempo in the early minutes, as Clinton set up in a full court press off made baskets. It didn't bother the Sea Devils much at all, however, who were able to beat the press and immediately attack the hoop for high percentage shots. Alonzo Tyson got involved early, scoring on his first three attempts. After jumping out to an early lead, a corner 3 from Tai-He Jeter gave them an 18-7 lead just over three minutes in. Clinton managed to cut the lead to six, but another three from Jeter pushed it to 9.
Cape Fear controlled the first half fairly comfortably, maintaining a double-digit lead for most of it. They shared the ball effectively, totaling 10 assists on their first 11 field goals, and finding success from the 3-point line. Jeter was the star of the first half, scoring 17 points on 6-7 shooting, and 5-6 from beyond the arc.
Head coach Ryan Mantlo was happy to see the sophomore guard step up in his final regular season game, and have such a strong first half.
"I thought it was awesome. Sophomores make this program what it is, and to see him have that kind of night is awesome."
The Sea Devils led by as much as 17 in the first half, but the Golden Bears prevented them from running away with it in the final 10 minutes of the half. A bit of sloppy play hurt Cape Fear, and Clinton was able to knock down a few shots to cut into the lead. But Clinton couldn't complete the comeback, and Cape Fear headed into halftime leading 53-37.
After a hot start shooting the ball, the Sea Devils cooled in the final minutes of the half, but still managed to shoot 42.9 percent from the field. More significantly, however, they held Clinton to just 37.5 percent, and 21.4 percent from behind the arc.
Clinton pushed back to start the second half, and got within 12 as Cape Fear's defense wasn't in sync in the early minutes. The run wouldn't go any further though, and the Sea Devils were able to push their lead to 20, as Tyson began scoring in bunches. After scoring 10 in the first half, Tyson totaled 17 second half points, scoring with ease in the paint.
As the first half was dominated by Jeter, the second half belonged to Tyson. Coach Mantlo loved his mentality, and how he continuously attacked the hoop.
"Alonzo is just a dog. He was a man amongst boys, and I thought it was great for him to not be passive, and go at the rim."
Tyson's strong second half helped put the game away early, as Cape Fear's lead grew close to 30. Clinton was able to bring it close to 20 in the final minutes, otherwise, it was a convincing win for the Sea Devils, and a great send off for the five sophomores.
Coach Mantlo has enjoyed coaching the sophomores, but pointed out that a lot of work remains.
"It's been a heck of a two years with these guys, and we're certainly going to miss them, but as they know we've got a lot of unfinished work to do."
Today's game wraps up the regular season for the Sea Devils. They finished with an overall record of 23-7 and a conference record of 7-5. Next up is the NJCAA Region 10 Tournament, where they will take on Brunswick Community College in a play-in game at home scheduled for Tuesday, March 7th at 6:00 p.m.
Courtesy of Nick Denning