NEWPORT NEWS — In a similar scenario to their last game 11 days ago, a second half defensive presence by
Sophomore Mike Cherry scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as the Captains used a 13-3 run to start the second half and pull away from Heidelberg 65-53 in the opening round of the Holiday Inn Captains Shootout.
With the win the Captains (7-1) take on Bridgewater College who outscored Houghton 51-21 in the second half and held them to 5-of-25 from the field (20%) to run away in the 79-46 win.
The first half saw the teams tied four times and trade the lead three as they opened with a flurry leading 17-10 with nine minutes left as Tra Benefield hit a short jumper in the paint. From that point, the Captains found the cold tank where they only hit one field goal in the last nine minutes and were outscored 13-5 down the stretch.
Mike Petrie scored eight of the 13 points for the Student Princes as a 3-pointer from the left wing with six minutes left to take a 20-19 lead. After a free throw each from Nik Biberaj, Cherry and Evan Thorpe put the Captains back up 22-20, the Student Princes' Dane Givner hit a jumper with 1:40 and a free throw with 41.3 left to give Heidelberg a 23-22 halftime lead.
In their last game against Eastern Mennonite before Christmas, the Captains held the Royals to 23 points for their win. The second half Friday night opened with CNU going on a 13-3 run as a Benefield dunk off a Biberaj feed pushed the Captains lead to 35-26 with 14:50 left .
"Coming off another 11-day layoff we had a time getting into a rhythm tonight and it showed early," said CNU Head Coach John Krikorian. "Once we got a little settled on the defensive end we were able to get things on track."
Heidelberg made one last push going on a 7-0 run over a 2:43 span as Doug Waldmannstetter hit a pair of free throws with 9:51 left to close the deficit to 38-37. That was as close as it got as Cherry answered that 7-0 run with a personal 6-0 run over the next two minutes.
A free throw with 9:12 left was followed with a coast-to-coast layup with 8:35 left. Another driving layup and free throw with 7:53 left from Cherry pushed the CNU lead back to 44-37. "He's a competitor and so willing to take the big shot when needed," said Krikorian of his starting guard.
The six-point Cherry run was the opening part of a 22-6 run over an 11 minute span by the Captains as Cherry and Biberaj drained consecutive 3-pointers to cap that explosion to push the lead to 60-43 with 3:18 left.