Luther Gibbs surveyed the half-empty gymnasium, surrounded by family and friends he’d known since elementary school. Earlier, they watched as the Culpeper High graduate scored a grand total of two points in Christopher Newport’s 97–84 victory over the University of Mary Washington on Saturday night.
But it was far from a wasted trip. Gibbs’ final visit to Fredericksburg in a Captains uniform will be remembered far more for the shots he didn’t take.
Coming off the bench, Gibbs dished out a game-high eight assists, pulled down three rebounds and added one steal and blocked shot apiece to aid the Captains’ efforts in a myriad of ways.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do, put my body on the line, because at the end of the day, it’s not about my stats,” Gibbs said.
For three years, CNU coach John Krikorian nudged Gibbs to be just a bit more selfish with the ball in his hands. Finally, he relented.
“If I tried to turn Luther into something he’s not, I really think that would be a mistake,” Krikorian said. “He really relishes that role of being the team glue guy, and I’m not going to get in the way.”
UMW (11–7, 1–2 Capital Athletic Conference) stuck with CNU throughout a nip-and-tuck first half, pulling ahead 39–35 on Drew Johnson’s layup with 3:39 to play.
Then foul trouble befell the Eagles, and a flurry of Captains baskets—including a buzzer-beater 3-pointer than ricocheted around the rim thrice before falling—sent UMW into the locker room wondering exactly what had transpired during CNU’s pivotal 13–0 run.
“We’re playing guys a few more minutes than we normally would,” UMW coach Marcus Kahn said. “But we can’t go four minutes without scoring. That was the game.”
UMW sophomore Greg Rowson led all scorers with 22 points but found himself absent during key stretches of the Eagles’ comeback attempt with four fouls. A Riley Welch 3-pointer pulled the Eagles to within 66–58 with 12:11 to play before CNU reestablished a double-digit lead down the stretch.
The Captains held a 45–31 edge in rebounding, and their 14 offensive boards struck Kahn as a particularly telling stat.
“That’s 14 extra chances,” he said. “I thought our defense was pretty good—on the first shot.”
Christopher Newport (13–4, 2–0): Adrian Beasley 18, Cutch Ellis 5, Dalon McHugh 18, Jason Aigner 18, Nick Parks 11, Liam Harrington 2, Luther Gibbs 2, Keyshawn Jefferson 7, Jake Latta 2, Ian Anderson 10, Savonte Chappell 4. Totals: 31 21-33 97.
UMW (11–6, 1–1): Drew Johnson 9, Greg Rowson 22, Trey Barber 11, Da’Shawn Cook 14, Ra’Shawn Cook 17, Riley Welch 11. Totals: 28 22-30 84.
Halftime: Christopher Newport 48–39. Three-point basket: Christopher Newport 14 (Beasley 4, Aigner 4, Parks 3, McHugh 2, Ellis), UMW 6 (D. Cook 2, R. Cook, Johnson, Barber, Welch). Rebounds: Christopher Newport 45 (McHugh 12), UMW 30 (Johnson 5, Rowson 5, R. Cook 5).
CNU 63, UMW 37
CNU’s relentless full-court pressure forced UMW into committing 30 turnovers in a lopsided defeat on Saturday afternoon at the Anderson Center.
The Eagles (13–4, 2–1 CAC), winners of six straight coming into Saturday’s contest, shot just 23.3 percent from the field and didn’t make a basket in the third quarter. At halftime, the Eagles had nearly as many turnovers (23) as points (24).
“That’s the way we play, that’s our game,” CNU coach Bill Broderick said. “We pressure for 40 minutes, 94 feet, make or miss. We didn’t do anything different.”
Tory Martin had 12 points for UMW, which hosts Shenandoah at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Christopher Newport (14–4, 3–0): Julia Ng 4, Natalie Terwilliger 9, Jessica Foster 6, Sondra Fan 11, Bailey Hodges 2, Phylicia McInnis 2, Marlise Brunson 1, Sawyer Freeland 6, Julia Hobbs 2, Marissa Gallagher 5, Jasmine Norman 2, Katy Radar 5, Anaya Simmons 7, Zoe Costly 1 Totals: 24 10-15 63.
UMW (13–4, 2–1): Maddie Shifflett 2, Tory Martin 12, Molly Sharman 2, Emily Thompson 2, Ashley Martin 5, Karissa Highlander 2, Faith St. Clair 5, Natalie Brennan 2, Bri Harper 5. Totals: 10 15-28 37.
Halftime: Christopher Newport, 30-18. Three-point basket: Christopher Newport 5 (Foster 2, Terwilliger, Fan, Gallagher), UMW 2 (Clair, Harper). Rebounds: Christopher Newport 58 (Hobbs 10), UMW 46 (Martin 7, Highlander 7).