BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Bethune-Cookman snapped a three-game losing streak by crushing I-4 rival Stetson 86-63 in front of 2,269 fans at Moore Gymnasium on Monday.
The Wildcats used a stifling defense while their athleticism and speed was too much for the bigger Hatters squad.
“It’s a good win. We beat a talented team that had an off night. Our defense really helped us as well,” responded Gravelle Craig, B-CU’s head basketball coach.
Adrien Coleman led B-CU with 29 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
“Our defense ignited our offense tonight. Playing good defense allowed us to get things offensively out in transition,” commented Coleman.
The home team has now won the last eight games in the series between the two schools. The Hatters still lead the all-time series 19-6 but B-CU has now defeated Stetson four straight times at home.
Too many turnovers
The Wildcats (3-6) shot 65.3 percent from the field, which is their best since Feb. 5, 2000, when they shot 60.3 percent in a 94-75 win over Maryland Eastern Shore.
Stetson (2-4) never could get any momentum going and was plagued by 19 turnovers.
A three-point play by Coleman gave B-CU a 30-13 lead with 8:31 to play in the first half.
B-CU had its biggest lead at 42-17 after a three by Kevin Dukes with 2:46 to go in the half.
Javoris Bryant’s jumper put the Wildcats up 44-20 with 1:24 remaining in the half. Bryant also finished with a career high 17 points.
“I’m just trying to get healthy. This is the healthiest that I have been all season. I was in position where I could knock down some shots,” said Bryant.
Weber, UCF next
The Hatters got back within 14 twice in the second half, the last when Aaron Graham converted two free throws with 9:45 to play.
Adam Pegg led Stetson with 17 points while Graham added 12. Paul Scotland added 15 points and Dukes 13 for B-CU.
The Wildcats were without Ricky Johnson, Mikel Trapp and Myron Repress, who all sat out nursing injuries.
B-CU came into the game on the heels of a loss to archrival Florida A&M to open MEAC play.
In that game, Coleman had 17 points and Alex Smith 13 for B-CU.
The Wildcats will host Weber International on Dec. 8 and travel to Orlando to face the University of Central Florida on Dec. 12.
Honors for Jenkins
Coach Brian Jenkins has been named American Football Coaches Association Region 2 Football Championship Series Coach of the Year.
Jenkins led the Wildcats to a 9-3 overall record and an 8-0 record in the MEAC. B-CU won the MEAC title and made the FCS playoffs.
In three seasons, he has compiled a 27-8 record, 21-3 MEAC mark, two MEAC titles and two playoff appearances at B-CU.
He also was named MEAC Coach of the Year a week earlier. It was his second time winning that honor.
Jenkins is also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson award, which is given to the top coach in the FCS ranks.
Lady Wildcats drop two
A slow start doomed Bethune-Cookman in a 66-43 loss to the University of Central Florida 66-43 on Dec. 2.
Terreneshia Hollis had 11 points while Amanda Hairston had nine with eight boards for B-CU against UCF.
The Ladies also suffered a heartbreaking 56-55 loss to the University of North Florida 56-55 on Nov. 28.
Chastity Taylor led the Wildcats with 21 points against UNF. The Ladies hosted Edward Waters College on Tuesday.
Bowling: Lady Wildcats split
Bethune-Cookman’s women’s bowling team went 4-4 at the second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Southern Divisional in Chesapeake, Virginia from Dec. 1-2.
The 18th ranked Wildcats got great performances from Staci Hilliard (205 average), Natalee Armstrong (202) and Felecia Baker (201).
Both Hilliard and Armstrong represented B-CU on the All-Tournament team.
The Ladies will next bowl at the Kutztown Invitational in Ready, Pennsylvania from Jan. 25-27.
Baseball: Wildcats release schedule
B-CU released its 2013 baseball schedule on Monday.
The Wildcats will play 20 of their 55 games at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona.
B-CU’s schedule also features seven teams that went to the NCAA Tournament and seven teams that finished ranked in the Top 40 a year ago.
The Wildcats also will face powerhouse Florida, Miami and Arizona State.
They open the season at Arizona State from Feb. 15-17. B-CU will play its first home game on Feb. 19 against the University of North Florida.