Durham, NC – The freshly minted NC Coyotes opened their ABA career with a home loss against the Fayetteville Flight on Sunday, in a game that featured differing styles of play. The Flight have solid backcourt play with multiple ballhandlers while the Coyotes are loaded with strength and size in the paint.
Fayetteville’s guards pressured the ball consistently from the opening tip, with Brandon McRae handling most of the point guard duties; McRae is a solid true point guard, quick and with a deft handle. He not only has the ability to run the offense as a pass-first guard, but can break down his man off of the dribble, spin in the lane around bigger defenders and finish. McRae finished with 28 points.
The Flight also have a scoring weapon with combo guard Bryan Calloway, who can shoot from deep, finish with contact, and the Coyotes really had no answer for him for most of the game. He finished with 42 points, even though he played very little of the fourth period.
The backcourt pressure of the Flight built a 33-22 lead at the end of the first period, and really never relinquished control of the game. The Coyotes were able to tie it 45-45 on a Shamar Bowden 3 pointer, but the pressure of the backcourt continued to create problems and the Flight were able to secure the road win 132-121.
Bright spots for the Coyotes were Julius Brooks, a 6’9″ power forward/center who is explosive around the basket and despite early foul trouble, finished strong in the second half. Brooks led the Coyotes scoring with 32 points and I had him down for at least 14 boards and 4 blocks. Brooks played in college at Loyola(Maryland). Curtis Withers, a 6’8″ big man, also had a solid outing and had a monster dunk that shook the rafters. Withers played college ball for Charlotte and has played in the NBA Summer League as well as having overseas experience.
The Coyotes will travel to Virginia Beach on November 10 to take on the Seven City Knights before returning home on November 16 to host the Charleston City Lions. Home games for the Coyotes are played at Neal Middle School in Durham. See the full schedule at this link.
A rematch of the Coyotes and Flight will be played on November 17 in Fayetteville.