Charlotte, NC -- The Johnson & Wales Charlotte men's basketball team squared off with the defending JWU Cup champion Johnson & Wales Providence team in the 2014 JWU Cup Championship Game today in the Charlotte Student Center. The crowd was electric, and the JWU Charlotte team was more than prepared for the challenge as they stunned the JWU Providence team with a 90-61 victory to claim the JWU Cup for Charlotte.
JWU Charlotte took the lead with their first possession on a Rickey Porter basket and never looked back. JWU Providence ran a full-court press from the beginning, but the JWU Charlotte ball handlers took care of the ball and created opportunities on offense. Thiago Conseicao was involved early to give JWU Charlotte a force inside. The Charlotte Wildcats got a lift from Tramain Parker upon entering the game and led 10-5 at the 14:00 mark. JWU Charlotte pushed leads several times in the first half off of drives from Andrew Williams and Nick Crawford, three-point shots from Joshua Cohen, and more inside power from Thiago Conseicao, but JWU Providence answered each time to keep the game close. JWU Charlotte finished the half with 8-4 run on a Conseicao putback, a Rickey Porter turnaround jumper, a Joshua Cohen up-and-under lay-up, and a Rickey Porter lay-up from Nick Crawford to hold a 37-27 lead.
JWU Charlotte fans felt as though their team played well in the first half, but they were in for a show in the second half. JWU Charlotte again established Conseicao down low on offense, and they went to zone defense for a bit to help conserve their lead. After two JWU Providence turnovers on baseline drives, DeQuincey Bennett hit a three-pointer for JWU Charlotte to open up a 44-31 lead and ignite the crowd. After a Nick Crawford lay-in from Andrew Williams, JWU Providence called a timeout, down 46-31. JWU Charlotte continued to be aggressive on offense and went on a 18-12 run by the 7:36 mark to lead 64-43 highlighted by a powerful drive and two jumpers from Rickey Porter and two David Bargamento lay-ups assisted by Nick Crawford. JWU Charlotte began to milk the clock before JWU Providence tried to close the gap with three straight three-point baskets. JWU Charlotte regained its composure and put the game out of reach with a 20-9 run to finish strong. Tramain Parker hit two threes in this span, and David Bargamento had some very aggressive dribble drives, including a hard take to the basket with the foul. JWU Charlotte shot a blistering 88.9% from the floor in the second half, and a very impressive 71.9% from the floor for the game.
JWU Charlotte was led by Tramain Parker with 20 points, and Rickey Porter had 19. David Bargamento had 13 points, and DeQuincey Bennett and Joshua Cohen each had 10. JWU Charlotte only committed 11 turnovers on the night in spite of full-court pressure throughout the game. This game was a pleasure to watch for JWU Charlotte fans, and it was a real reward for the Queen City Cup staff, who has been planning this event for months.
After the game, the All-Tournament Team was announced. Andrew Bonner from Denver, Jumaoke Smith from North Miami, Julian Bolton from Providence, Michael Kiser from Providence, and Tramain Parker from Charlotte all received All-Tournament Honors. Charlotte's Rickey Porter was named Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament.
JWU Charlotte (6-7) has two more games before the holiday break. They travel to NCAA Division I Radford University on December 16 and NCAA Division III Greensboro College on December 18.