Road Report: Wall Drives Past Mount Zion

RALEIGH, N.C. – John Wall nearly did it by himself as he led a second half rally to knock off Mount Zion. However, he got a little help from teammate Milton Chavis' perimeter touch Thursday night.

A pair of highly touted juniors – power forward Karron Johnson and point guard John Wall – proved to be worthy headliners in the much anticipated battle between host Word of God and visiting Mount Zion.

However, despite each high level prospect's contribution, the ball game was decided by potential mid-level prospect Milton Chavis' jumper with seconds remaining. Word of God prevailed 83-81 in a nip and tuck second half affair.

Johnson ( No. 33, 2009) put Mount Zion on his shoulders in the first quarter and set the tone early. With sophomore C.J. Leslie on him, Johnson went after Leslie and challenged him physically. The result: 15 first quarter points for the Mount Zion standout.

Chavis Comes Up Big
By halftime Johnson had amassed 21 points and 7 rebounds as Mount Zion led 40-36. For the most part, things were going Johnson and Mount Zion's way.

Enter Wall (No. 12,, one of the nation's top lead guards and a trailblazing 6-foot-4 tempo machine. After scoring 11 points of his own in the first quarter, Wall was silenced in the second and went to the locker room with 11 and no assists.

As dominant as Johnson was in the first quarter, Wall proved his match after halftime. "I think I led my team to a victory," Wall said. "When it wasn't working right we got it fixed." Translation: Wall was unstoppable going to the rim.

Whether he used or refused the ball screen, Wall couldn't be guarded. The zone that slowed him in the first half turned into transition buckets and gear changing drives in the second. However, as excellent as Wall was going to the rim, it was his big time dime to close the 3rd quarter that seemed to energize his club and cut the lead to 61-59.

Johnson Was A Load
With Wall clicking from the line (8-for-11 including his final 8 in a row), Word of God hung in there.

A tough Chavis jumper tied it at 80 and then his deep 2-pointer would later seal the deal. Chavis finished with 19 points. Leslie had 10 in the first half and ended with 13.

The headliners each amassed impressive totals. Johnson shot 15-23 from the field and finished with 35 and 14 boards. Wall had 32 (11-20 FG). He was 2-5 from downtown and his other 15 shots were at the rim; many of the makes were acrobatic, traffic hits. Wall dropped 4 assists on the night.

"This is the game I had circled on the calendar," Wall said after the game. Wall's attention to detail at the line reflected his desire.

North Carolina State head coach Sidney Lowe was in attendance watching Wall and committed sophomore Leslie. Joining him in the viewing of Wall were assistants from Kentucky, Tennessee and Seton Hall. The Pirates were also present chasing Johnson. … Winston-Salem State (for Chavis), Shaw and North Carolina Central made the trip. … Mount Zion point guard Lathan McCoy, a 6-1 strong lead guard, turned in a solid game. …

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