By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator
Tuesday night at the Greater NC Pro-Am started out with a nail-biter as Body of Christ narrowly escaped Team 212 with a two point victory.
The game remained close throughout the first half. Body of Christ's Adarius Pegues, a former Western Kentucky forward, got things started early with a two-handed dunk. He showed off his range just seconds later with a deep two as his team jumped ahead.
NCCU star C.J. Wilkerson found the majority of the buckets for Team 212 in the beginning of the game. After making his first seven free throw attempts, Wilkerson contributed 11 points in the opening quarter, but his team still trailed by one at the first intermission.
Wilkerson's teammates began to heat things up in the second period as Charles Futrell took advantage of a second chance opportunity to reclaim the lead for Team 212. Chris Hill also took part in the action, adding to the team's lead by throwing down a 360 dunk to the crowd's delight. Hill made things happen offensively throughout the half, and led his team to a 28-25 lead going into halftime after converting the old-fashioned three point play with just 2.2 seconds on the clock.
Team 212 stormed out to a nine point lead to start the second half after Futrell made an immediate statement with a pair of electrifying jams. Pegues answered with a quick four points to end the run and keep Body of Christ in the game. Wilkerson increased his offensive production by finding his way to the charity stripe several times throughout the third quarter. After nailing 16 of 17 from the line, Wilkerson scored 24 points on the night.
Despite trailing early in the third period, Body of Christ found some offensive production from Rhode Island guard Akeem Richmond and N.C. State transfer Johnny Thomas. The two combined for three perimeter shots, and Thomas added on with a pair of free throws and a highlight dunk off the backboard to help boost Body of Christ to a six point lead entering the final quarter.
Dwayne Sims would not allow his team to go down without a fight. The NCCU guard kept Team 212 in the game in the final minutes, responding to a Richmond three pointer with a trey of his own with just 13 seconds remaining, cutting the deficit to one. Body of Christ's John Brown hit the second of two free throws after drawing a foul, but Wilkerson tied the game with 7.5 second left after being fouled by Thomas.
It appeared the game was headed for overtime, but Thomas stepped up once again to get the clutch points. With just 2.5 seconds remaining, Thomas pulled up for a baseline jumper, but was fouled by Futrell. Thomas was successful on both free throw attempts, and Body of Christ claimed the victory after Futrell's halfcourt prayer bounced off the back of the rim. It was the second time this season that Thomas hit a game-winning bucket, after his buzzer-beating three propelled Body of Christ over Team Jamison in an overtime thriller on July 8.