’Jacks erase 21-point deficit but still lose to Essex
Knights take advantage of free-throw disparity to stage own comeback
WYE MILLS It looks like it’s going to be a wild ride with this year’s Chesapeake College men’s basketball team.
The Skipjacks who rallied from 18 points down in a season-opening win over Howard Community College wiped out a 21-point, second-half deficit Saturday afternoon against visiting Community College Baltimore County-Essex. Chesapeake, however, couldn’t hold a seven-point lead down the stretch while falling to the Knights, 101-97.
"I think we got too comfortable with the lead," lamented Chesapeake’s D.J. Nicholson, who sank eight 3-pointers while throwing in a game-high 44 points.
Essex used a 7-0 run, built on five free throws and a David Ford layup, to wipe out a 92-89 deficit and go in front to stay. Darnell Harris nailed a 3-pointer with 24.1 seconds remaining to pull Chesapeake (1-1) within 96-95, but the Knights locked up the win by hitting 5-of-6 free throws.
Free throws played a huge role in the game as Essex knocked down 13-of-18 in the final 4:18, fouling out four Skipjacks in the process. In contrast, Chesapeake shot one free throw over the same time period and shot 14 less free throws for the game than Essex.
"That amazing," Chesapeake head coach Joel Dearring said of the late-game free-throw disparity. Ironically, the Skipjacks shot extremely well from the line 22-for-26 when they got there.
Dearring isn’t pleased with his Skipjacks’ inconsistent play, but he appreciates the effort shown by his players over the first two games.
"They probably have the biggest heart of any group of young men I’ve been around in 20 years of coaching," said Dearring. "They give maximum effort all the way to the end."
Essex, which had a 45-31 halftime cushion, used a 9-2 run at the start of the second half to build a 54-33 lead. The Knights still had a seven-point advantage with less than eight minutes to go when Chesapeake reeled off 14 straight points the last 12 on four consecutive 3-pointers by Nicholson.
"I was just trying my best I didn’t want my team to lose," said Nicholson, whose eight 3-pointers were one off the school record.
The Knights suddenly finding themselves in a 78-71 hole responded with a 9-2 run of their own, with Jordan Benson (team-high 27 points) hitting a 3-pointer to create an 80-80 tie. That was one of four ties down the stretch, the last one on a Ford layup that pulled Essex (1-0) into a 92-92 draw with 1:52 remaining.
Jerrium Beale put Essex in front to stay by sinking two free throws with 1:28 remaining. Gregory Hunt and Benson each hit 1-of-2 free throws for a 96-92 Essex lead. After Harris hit his trey to get Chesapeake within a point, Beale and Benson each knocked down two free throws to put the game away.
Matthew Jackson and Jimmie Jenkins each scored 13 points and Patric Bridges added 10 as four Skipjacks made it into double figures.
Ford (22 points) and Hunt (12 points) joined Benson in double digits for Essex. Taylor Pitts scored nine points and three other Knights Leandro Diaz, Frederick Brown and Beale added eight each.
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