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Chowan, ECSU just shy of CIAA hoops title

CHARLOTTE – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) held its 65th Annual Men’s Basketball Tournament last week at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Chowan, in its first season as a full member of the CIAA, lost in the tourney semifinals Friday night.

Elizabeth City State, entering the tournament as the No. 7 seed, advanced through three rounds before losing in Saturday’s championship game to top-seeded St. Augustine’s.

Senior guard Jaleel Nelson (Lakeland) had 17 points and six assists for fourth-seeded Chowan, but the Hawks lost to St. Augustine’s 84-62.

Chowan’s starting lineup included Nelson, who was named first-team All-CIAA for the regular season and to the All-Tournament Team, and sophomore Mark Brown (Nansemond River).

Nelson led Chowan, putting up 18.0 points per game, which was the second best in the CIAA. He also got 2.1 steals per outing, which was good for second best in the conference. With over 1,200 career points he is Chowan’s third-highest all-time scorer.

Brown has been said to be the Hawks’ silent scorer. He played under the radar for most of the season and is second on the team in scoring at 14.7 points a game. Brown was eighth in the CIAA in scoring.

“I loved the experience, seeing the fans, the other teams, the bright lights, the Arena and my whole family came to see me play. It was great,” Nelson said about the tournament.

“I’ve learned a lot from the seniors on this team and I will use it to build on what we have already accomplished,” Brown said.

“(Coach Jim Tribbett) showed interest in me as a player and a person when no other colleges did. He helped me to refine my skills and become the athlete I am today and for that I am grateful,” Nelson said.

ECSU advanced in the tournament’s first two rounds with wins over Fayetteville St. and Bowie St. On Friday, the Vikings beat No. 6 Shaw 44-36.

Sophomore guard Marquie Cooke (Nansemond River) had six points and four rebounds for ECSU.

St. Augustine’s won the conference title Saturday, beating ECSU 63-59. Cooke didn’t play in the final.

For the season, Cooke started 23 games for the Vikings (17-14), averaging 11.5 points and 4.3 assists per game.

Almeta Davis contributed

to this story.