Charlotte, NC: January 3, 2011- University of the District of Columbia Firebirds junior guard Nigel Munson (Graphic Design- Washington, DC) scored a game-high 24 points against the Elizabeth City State University Vikings this afternoon at the Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. It would not be enough to lift the Firebirds to the win as they were edged, 78-76, on two free-throws by Marquie Cooke in the last 8 seconds of the game.
The Firebirds fell behind early in the game and were down by 8 points at the half 47-39. The Vikings shot a blistering 81 percent (21-26) from the field, 57 percent ( 4-7) from beyond the arc and 1-2 from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Firebirds only shot 42 percent (14-33) from the field, 36 percent (5-14) from beyond the arc and 75 percent ( 6-8) from the charity stripe.
The Firebirds played some tough defense in a 18-2 run ignited by sophomore Munson in the second half, UDC led 58-53 with 12:28 remaining in the game. The Vikings regained the lead at the 9:53 mark (59-58) and held were ahead until the 6:58 mark when the Firebirds scored on a layup by freshman forward Ziad Ashmawy (Political Science-Cairo, Egypt).
The lead changed several times in the last 5 minutes of the game and the score was tied at 74 with 2:22 left. The Vikings' Rondy Tucker made a layup with a 1:49 left to give them a 76-74 lead. Munson was fouled in the act of shooting with 14 seconds remaining and made two free-throws to knot the score at 76, but Marquie Cooke was fouled with 8 seconds on the clock, went to the line and made two free-throws. A last open jump shot missed for the firebirds as the buzzer sounded.
The Firebirds were without the service of two leading defenders and scorers sophomore guard Dyrek Jones (Accounting-Brooklyn, NY) and senior forward Greg Avila ( Sociology-Bronx, NY), neither of whom made the trip due to injuries.
Joining Munson in double figures were junior guard Brandon Herbert (Sociology- Baltimore, MD) with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, along with senior guard Tim Ellison (TV Broadcasting-Alexandria, VA) with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.
The Firebirds fell to 1-10 with this loss, but look to rebound on Wednesday, January 5, at home, against the Washington Adventist University Shock.