Bowie's Moore has Plenty to Shout About in Win
After beginning his college career at UNC-Wilmington, sophomore guard helps Niagara get a rare road victory in front of family in Baltimore.
There was a lot of noise, and shouts, coming from the visiting locker room in the basement of the Reitz Arena at Loyola University in north Baltimore late Friday night.
That was because the men's basketball team at Niagara University, which includes Kevon Moore of Bowie, won just its sixth game of the season (and second on the road) against the host Greyhounds. And Niagara, from upstate New York, did it in dramatic fashion as the Purple Eagles erased a 13-point deficit early in the second half to win, 59-57, on a shot by senior Anthony Nelson with about 15 seconds left.
"We needed a win, first and foremost," said Moore, standing outside of the Niagara dressing room. "It was sweeter for me since it was a school that recruited me (after he transferred) and it was here at home" in Maryland. His mother, Debbie, and sister attended the game as did a handful of Niagara fans wearing purple school shirts who sat behind the team bench among 888 fans.
Moore, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard for Niagara, started and had four points and one rebound in 27 minutes for head coach Joe Mihalich. A resident of Old Bowie, Moore has played in the first 26 games (with 15 starts) and is averaging nearly five points per game and is third on the squad in assists and steals.
He had to sit out last season, per NCAA rules, after he transferred to Niagara after playing as a freshman at North Carolina-Wilmington.
"I thought he handled it well," said head coach Joe Mihalich, who got his start in coaching at DeMatha Catholic High in Hyattsville under the legendary Morgan Wootten. "It can be frustrating at times, especially on game days. You want to be out there. I think he is still a little rusty."
"I try to be a defensive stopper and bring energy when I am in the game, intangible things," Moore said.
Moore, a left-handed sophomore guard, played as a senior at Montrose Christian, of Rockville, one of the top high school programs in the country. The school has sent Kevin Durant and Greivis Vasquez, a former Maryland Terp, to the NBA. Moore averaged 12 points and five rebounds at Montrose Christian, after he played three years at Archbishop Spalding in Severn. His Spalding coach, Mike Glick, was at the game on Friday.
Moore also grew up playing AAU ball in Prince George's County and knows Chris Wright (Bowie, St. John's) and Austin Freeman (Mitchellville, DeMatha) of Georgetown and Nolan Smith (Upper Marlboro, Riverdale Baptist), a senior guard for Duke. Moore also looked at George Mason, VCU and other schools before deciding on Niagara. "I came on a visit and it felt right. I thought it was the best fit," he said.
Moore played as a freshman during the 2008-09 season at UNC-Wilmington, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. One of his best games came against league foe George Mason when he had 10 rebounds on Feb. 25, 2009.
In the CAA tourney that year he had eight points against Hofstra. He started five of 27 games for a team that was 7-25, and averaged 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest. "He can do a little of everything," Mihalich said. "We encourage him to attack the basket. He is kind of an all-around player."
UNC-Wilmington has gone through several changes in recent years in its athletic program and hired a new athletic director and new men's basketball coach in the past year.
Moore played for Benny Moss at UNC-Wilmington. The new head coach there is Buzz Peterson, a college roommate of Michael Jordan. Why did Moore leave? "Chemistry things on our team, coaches and players butting heads. It wasn't about playing time or anything like that," said Moore, who saw a lot of playing time as a freshman at UNC-W.
So he has gone from the beaches of North Carolina to the snow belt of upstate New York. "It is not as bad as people make it out to be," Moore said of the winters in Buffalo. Moore was born in Newburgh, NY, and his family moved to Bowie when he was less than a year old.
Niagara improved to 6-20 overall and 3-11 in the MAAC with the win on Friday. The Purple Eagles are slated to play Feb. 13 at Rider in New Jersey.
"We have been in a couple of games that we should have won," Moore said. "Hopefully we can use this as a springboard. Seeing our senior leader, Nelson, make that winning shot was the cherry on top."
The win came against Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos, a long-time Maryland assistant, and former Terp Shane Walker, who had 17 points for Loyola. Freshman Justin Drummond (Riverdale Baptist) of Upper Marlboro had nine points and six rebounds off the bench for the Greyhounds.
Luke Dobrich, an assistant coach for Niagara, said his school recruited Moore when he was in high school. Once UNC-W released Moore from his scholarship, other schools were allowed to contact him. "He is trying to figure out what his role is going to be," Dobrich said. "He has to improve his perimeter shot. Hopefully it will click. It is all confidence. He played the point guard position early in the year. He is versatile. He is an unbelievable athlete."
Editor's Note: This story was edited from its original to reflect that Moore moved to Bowie when he was not even a year old.