Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear men's basketball lost to #2 nationally ranked Georgia Highlands College 118-101 on Saturday.
Both teams played with high intensity from the tip. Jacque Brown would open the game for the Sea Devils, scoring a running layup. Georgia Highlands would respond with a 3-pointer by Tre Maloney, but Trae Bryant would put Cape Fear back on top with a 3-pointer from the corner. Then, Alonzo Tyson would ignite the crowd with a put-back slam dunk.
3-pointers by Bryant and Jerick Haynes would give the Sea Devils a 13-6 lead, forcing Georgia Highlands to call timeout. The Chargers would respond with five straight points from Kyvon Davenport, but a 3-pointer by Tai-He Jeter would put Cape Fear back up by five.
Foul trouble plagued the Sea Devils in the first half. DeVarte Watson and Bryant both picked up two early fouls, and the Chargers would be in the bonus eight minutes into the half. After a technical foul by head coach Ryan Mantlo, Georgia Highlands would take the lead 19-18.
Momentum would then swing in the favor of Georgia Highlands. The Sea Devils would began missing outside shots, and the Chargers would jump out to a six point lead. The Chargers began pressuring full court, which caused Cape Fear some trouble. A turnover on the inbounds pass would lead to an easy layup for Georgia Highlands, giving them a 31-21 lead, and forcing coach Mantlo to call timeout.
Cape Fear would cut the lead to seven by attacking the hoop and drawing fouls, however, Chargers' guard Ty'lik Evans would make a 3-pointer in transition to put them back up by double digits. Careless turnovers would make it difficult for the Sea Devils to come back, and the Chargers would maintain around a ten point lead as the half closed. Georgia Highlands would go up by 14 with 20 seconds remaining, but Jeter would cut it to 12 on a putback as time expired.
The Sea Devils would trail 42-54 at the half. Jacque Brown would lead with 11 points. They committed 12 turnovers in the half, which lead to 13 points for the Chargers.
The Chargers would score four points to start the second half, extending their lead to 16. The lead would increase to 22 before Cape Fear would call timeout. Momentum would continue to favor Georgia Highlands, and they'd maintain a lead of 20 points or more.
An alley-oop by Alston Davis would cut the deficit to 18. Following a Chargers timeout, Tyson would steal a ball in the backcourt and score to cut it to 16. After trading buckets, the Sea Devils would cut it to 15 a minute later, but the Chargers would push it back to 20 soon after.
Georgia Highlands held a 81-61 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Cape Fear would struggle to create offense, and were unable to make enough stops on defensive to make a run.
A 3-pointer by Jeter would cut the score to 18 with 4:12 remaining, however, by this point the score was out of reach for the Sea Devils. Despite this, Cape Fear continued fighting in hopes of a late comeback. Towards the end of the game, a quick run by the Sea Devils would cut the lead to 17 as time expired, and put them over the century mark.
Afterwards, coach Mantlo noted that his team struggled with finding a rhythm. "Obviously it didn't turn out the way we wanted. It was tough to get into a rhythm, there were 71 fouls [committed between both teams], which has got to be a record, but we never got into a flow offensively. Give [Georgia Highlands] credit, they're a good ball club and it was an eye opening experience for our guys."
Asked about what his team can learn from the loss, Mantlo focused on toughness. "We've got to learn how to be a little tougher. We can't let people come in here and control tempo. Our guys have to learn that we have to bring it everyday, so hopefully this will be an eye opener for us."