Despite being undersized on the road in a rowdy environment, WAU came to play in the first half. Speedy freshman point guard Shyheim Gilkerson (10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assist, 2 steals) and savvy senior guard Charles Vines (13 points/ 5-9 FG, 3 rebounds) attacked relentlessly on offense and swarmed the Bison guards on defense. With Gilkerson and Vines setting the tone, the results were WAU forcing seven first half turnovers, having All MEAC point guard RJ Cole out the game in foul trouble, while holding Howard to 41 percent shooting from the field. It was an ideal half for the Shock, and had it not been for the hot shooting from Howard guard Chad Lott (18 points/ 6-9 FG), WAU would have for sure held the lead despite shooting 34 percent from the field, however, WAU went into the half down 46-40. In the second half, it was all Bison. With a motivated RJ Cole back controlling the pace of the game, Howard outscored the Shock 69-51 (53% FG/ 58% 3FG) while only committing three turnovers to defeat NAIA power WAU 115-91. Vines and Therence Mayimba were tied for a team high 18 points to lead the Shock while Gilkerson added 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assist and 2 steal. Redshirt junior guard Chad Lott (pictured above) scored a game high 27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assist while Cole added 22 points (17 in the second half), 8 assist, 3 steals with 0 turnovers.
While WAU won the rebounding battle over the bigger Bison 51-49, the Shock lost the battle of points in the paint 42-28, point off turnovers 23-14, second chance points 25-13 and bench scoring 36-31.
Washington Adventist -
Shyheim Gilkerson –
Gilkerson showed that he has the potential to be one of the best all round point guards in the NAIA down the line. Going against a lethal backcourt from Howard, Gilkerson showed the poise and all around impact of an upperclassmen. His attacks in transition and off the bounce in the half court put pressure on Cole, resulting in two early fouls, which was a huge part in WAU keeping it close in the first half. In high school, Gilkerson could get out of control at times, turning it over at a high rate in some games, yet, against the length and athleticism from Howard he only turned it over three times which is big for a freshman point guard against that caliber of talent the Bison has in its backcourt. Speaks volumes of the coaching from WAU staff. The one thing Gilkerson must improve on to truly be unstoppable as he gains experience is his shooting. While he scored 15 points, 9 of those points were from the free throw line, the remaining six came from 3-11 shooting from the field. He will have to improve in that area otherwise defenses will play off him and dare him to shoot, making it hard on him to have an impact scoring wise.
Charles Vines –
Brought senior leadership and kept a young WAU team in the game when it could have gotten ugly sooner. Vines went toe to toe with Bison guard Chad Lott scoring the ball in the first half, including a step back 3-pointer as the halftime buzzer sounded. Vines can score from all three levels and despite being small, isn’t afraid to mix it up with bigger players defensively and for rebounds. As he learns his new teammates, I can see him controlling the game more and utilizing them to their strengths while picking his spots to score. No reason why he shouldn’t be a 15-20 points, 5 assist, 5 rebound guard this season.
Therence Mayimba –
Mayimba only played four minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble. In the second half, he showed why he was a coveted prospect coming out of St James. Mayimba in the second half, posted 18 points on 6-12 shooting and 7 rebounds with four being offensive. Known for his length and athleticism, Mayimba showed an improved shooting form as he hit two 3-pointers and shot 100 percent from the line. Mayimba has All American talent if he can be consistent, he will be a force throughout this season.
RJ Cole –
One of the best floor generals in all of college basketball. Period. After only playing six minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Cole took over the game in the second half, posting 17 points and 7 assist in just 16 second half minutes. He got guys shots in rhythm, he scored from all three levels and he brought it on the defensive end, finishing with three steals. And he did it all without committing a single turnover. Flawless basketball from the All MEAC point guard.
Chad Lott – While Cole and Charles Williams (who sat out with injury) get all the headlines, a third guard who appears ready to make a high level impact is 6’4 Chad Lott. An explosive scorer, Lott was the reason why WAU couldn’t take the lead in the first half. Lott shot 6 of 9 from the field including 2-3 from deep, holding things down for the Bison offensively while Cole was out. Lott who is a transfer from Rice, is a perfect complement to Cole and Williams with his athletic style of play and all around skill set. Keep an eye on Lott moving forward.