Cavaliers go slow to top Bears, 56-44
Juwon Jackson's been leading Southern Lee's basketball squad a lot recently. After he led them out to a good start in Tuesday night's conference tilt against Gray's Creek though, the Cavaliers had to get the job done largely without their senior leader in the paint.
The Cavaliers (8-8, 5-1) controlled the clock and got buckets when they needed them to keep the visiting Bears (6-10, 2-4) from closing in down the stretch, keeping pace near the top of the Cape Fear Valley race with a 56-44 win.
Jackson still led the Cavs with 14 points, but he scored 12 in the opening half and he personally put his side out to a 7-0 lead in the first 90 seconds with three hoops, including a three-point play, all from short range.
The Bears answered with the next 10 points to take the lead. In stretches, the Bears hassled the Cavalier offense, usually with an athletic lineup of 6-foot-3 Xavier Washington, 6-foot-3 Deiontae McMillian and 6-foot-4 Jeff Gibson.
Gray's Creek frequently hurt itself, too. A combination of tight Cavalier defense and unforced turnovers led the Bears to a 23-13 turnover disadvantage for the game.
Five straight points by Christian Locust followed by Juwon Jackson turning a steal into a lay-up and three-point play gave the Cavs an 8-0 run and a 26-17 lead in the second quarter.
The Cavaliers also got a boost from back-up guards Andrew Carnegie and Charles Wicker. The Carnegie-Wicker backcourt combo combined for six points and five assists in the first half as the Cavs led 34-28 at halftime.
Juwon Jackson picked up two fouls in the first 1:50 of the second half, giving him four fouls and a spot on the bench until the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers did more than simply hold on without Jackson. Damian Brown came in for Jackson and scored two baskets in the lane, building the Cavalier lead to 42-33. The Cavs led by as much as 12 late in the third period and it was 46-36 going to the fourth.
Holding the ball, on a couple of occasions for more than a minute, the Cavaliers took care of their lead efficiently. Point guard Jalen Jackson did most of the time-wasting and the Bears couldn't do a lot about it.
Four quick Cavalier points, with Locust grabbing a rebound and scoring amongst the bigger, taller Bears, then two by Wicker as he turned a steal into a lay-up, made it 52-40 Cavaliers with a little less than three minutes remaining.
Justin McKinnon, in the paint for the Cavs along with Juwon Jackson, scored 11 points. Locust had nine points, five steals and four assists. Jalen Jackson led the Cavs on the boards with seven.
McMillian led the Bears with 13 points. Gibson had 11 points and Michael Morning added nine points.
With a five-game winning streak, including four straight CFVC victories, the Cavaliers will host Western Harnett Friday night at 8 p.m.