N.C. Wesleyan senior Cornelius Snow was the first player or coach out of the Battling Bishops’ postgame lockeroom Saturday evening.
Snow emerged in a pair of blue practice shorts, a basketball cupped under his arm, and he proceeded to spend the evening shooting baskets on the Everett Gymansium court.
Four days after setting a career single-game scoring mark, Snow made only three of his 17 attempts in the Battling Bishops’ 88-74 loss to Averett on Saturday.
Snow’s shooting wasn’t the sole reason for N.C. Wesleyan’s loss. The Bishops lost their second straight game because of a laundry list of items that included rebounding and stopping the other team’s best player.
“I’m really disappointed in my performance,” said Snow, who scored a career-high 24 points in Wednesday’s loss to Methodist and finished with nine Saturday. “I know I left a lot of shots out there that I can make on a regular basis. I’m disappointed I didn’t come through for my teammates and make those shots.”
Even if Snow had made a few more shots, N.C. Wesleyan was still beaten on bulletin points given to players on their pregame scouting reports.
Averett’s Justin Pierce scored a game-high 39 points. He had an answer for every Battling Bishops surge, including a 3-pointer with seven minutes remaining that gave his team a 67-61 lead.
N.C. Wesleyan (9-7, 2-5 USA South) drew no closer the remainder of the way.
“His tendancies were in bold on the scouting report,” N.C. Wesleyan forward Josh Morrison said of Pierce. “We were told everything he did, but we just didn’t execute.”
Averett’s best attribute – physicality – served it well. The Cougars outrebounded the Bishops, 46-31, and scored 21 second-chance points in the process. Thirty-six of Averett’s points came in the paint, and N.C. Wesleyan did not have player with more than four rebounds.
Eight Averett players finished with at least four rebounds.
“Most of it is heart and effort,” Morrison said of the Bishops’ rebounding woes. “Ninety percent of it is heart and effort. The other 10 percent is about technique.”
The loss was particularly disappointing for N.C. Wesleyan, which squandered a 21-point lead and lost at the buzzer Wednesday to Methodist.
Brandon Givens scored 27 points to lead the Bishops, who only shot 38 percent from the floor.
The Bishops have a quick turnaround with a 4 p.m. game today against Ferrum, and they’ll have to implement a short memory.
“They (Averett) did to us what they do to everyone else,” N.C. Wesleyan coach John Thompson said. “They earned every rebound. We have to work harder, block out better and pursue the ball. We have to get better or we’ll have similar results.”
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org