By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator
Kyrie Irving made his Greater NC Pro-Am debut with Hendrick of Durham as he faced Charles Ward and Team Navy. Irving, the incoming freshman point guard at Duke, received a lot of hype coming out of high school, and his play early on against Team Navy made it clear that he would not disappoint on Tuesday night.
The first quarter featured excellent finishing on both ends, with Irving and Team Navy's Derrick Wiley both hitting shots while getting fouled. No three pointers were made in the opening period, but players found other ways to rack up points and excite the crowd. Team Navy's Charles Ward slammed in a halfcourt alley-oop in the final minute, and his team took an 18-17 lead into the second quarter.
Team Navy got off to a quick start in the following period. N.C. State's Kendall Smith knocked down a pair of free throws, and just seconds later scored on a lay-up after rebounding a free throw missed by Wiley. Irving answered with the first trey of the game, scoring three of his 14 first half points.
While Irving's play was nothing short of phenomenal, the rest of Hendrick of Durham was struggling. Team Navy took advantage as Corey Evans threw down a two-handed slam. Ward added to the lead with a windmill jam, and later extended his team's lead to 11 after tossing the ball off the glass and slamming it down with authority in what may have been the highlight of the game. Hendrick of Durham's Michael Deloach eventually slowed down Team Navy's run by knocking down two free throws, but his team trailed 38-29 at halftime.
Despite the halftime deficit, the third quarter was all Hendrick of Durham needed to get back in the game. Irving continued to get points from the charity stripe, and his teammates began to feed off his effort. Deloach tied the game at 43-43, and Irving hit two more free throws to give his team its first lead of the half. Team Navy's Dominique Sutton got a lay-in at the buzzer, tying the game at 45-45 entering the final period of play.
Wiley scored a quick five points to give his team the early lead. After a Sutton dunk with 5:42 remaining, Team Navy appeared to be running away with the game as they held a 56-47 lead. Irving and NCCU sophomore Nick Chasten kept their team in the game with immediate scoring. Chasten knocked down a shot from three point land with under a minute to go to cut the lead to two, and Hendrick of Durham got the ball back after a Navy turnover with 17.9 seconds to go. After melting some time off the clock, Deloach drove to the basket, but was unable to hit the tough lay-up. Team Navy escaped with the victory, 66-62.