Wilberforce, Ohio: February 27, 2010-Junior guard Tim Ellison (Alexandria, VA) scored 23 second half points in a valiant effort to lead the University of the District of Columbia Firebirds in a comeback as they fell to the Central State University Marauders, 85-62, this afternoon at Lewis Gymnasium. Trailing by 14 at the break, Ellison elected to shoulder the burden of trying to bring his team back by adding to his 6 point first half scores for his total of 29. It would not happen, as Central went on a second half scoring tear winning by a margin of 23 points.
Central, ranked 6th in the NCAA Division II Midwest Region, had five players in double figures, led by Gino Smith who tallied 17 points, and 4 rebounds in the winning effort. Anthony Passley and Damone Pledger scored 13 points each, while Cole Prophet followed with 12. Robert Harris added 11 points to the total.
Central went on several runs in the first half, including a 7-0 one at 8:57, which pushed their lead up to 16, then UDC trimmed it back down to 11 on shots by freshman guard Kenneth James (Arlington, VA), sophomore forward Chris Leach (Washington, DC) and Ellison.
Central shot 47 percent (14 for 30) from the field, 21 percent (3 for 14) from beyond the arc and 100 percent (7 of 7) from the charity stripe in the first half. UDC shot 29 percent (5 for 17), 27 percent (2 for 7) and a phenomenal 100 percent (12 of 12) from the charity stripe in the half. Free throw shooting kept the Firebirds in the game.
Central led by as much as 25 points twice in the second half as they took over the game, closing it out by a margin of 23 points. The Marauders shot 52 percent (32 for 62) for the game, 8 for 28 from the three-point line and 87 percent (13 of 15) from the charity stripe.
Freshman guard Keith Brooks (Harlem, NY) was the only other Firebird in double digits, scoring 10 points, grabbing 1 rebound and dishing out 1 assist. James scored 9 points and pulled down 2 boards, and Leach added 8 points, 7 boards and 1 steal.
Central out rebounded UDC 38 to 17 and outscored them in the paint 44 to 10. The Marauders led in bench points, 21 to 3, and second chance opportunities, converting them into 18 points to the Firebirds' 3. Turnover points also favored Central as they converted 19 UDC turnovers into 24 points.
UDC finished their season at 1-20, while Central improved to 22-5 as they hope for a bid to the NCAA Tournament.