Reigning Champion Bowie State Edges Livingstone, 80-77
The quarterfinal round of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men's Basketball Championship Tournament concluded Thursday evening as the Bowie State Bulldogs took on the Livingstone Blue Bears in the late game at the Spectrum Center. The Bulldogs took a double digit lead early in the second half and held off a late rally by the Blue Bears to earn the 80-77 win and advance to the semi-finals.
Bowie State (#2 seed in the North) will face Johnson C. Smith University (#1 seed in the South) in the second semi-final game Friday at 9:00 p.m. at the Spectrum Center. The Bulldogs improve to 14-14 on the season while the Blue Bears end their 2017-18 campaign with a 12-13 mark.
Omari George led all scorers with 27 points (5-10 FG, 17-21 FT). Ahmaad Wilson and Saiquan Jamison added 14 and 12 points respectively to round out Bowie State's double figure scorers. Jamison added 13 rebounds to complete the double-double.
Cameron Burhannon led the Blue Bears with 22 points (6-17 FG, 9-10 FT) while Roger Ray chipped in 19 points (5-16 FG, 9-10 FT). Lydell Elmore led the team with six rebounds.
The Blue Bears opened the game with an 8-2 flourish with Ray capping the run with two straight baskets. Bowie State countered with a 15-5 run to reclaim the lead at 17-13, with a Dayshawn Wells' three-point field goal kicking off the run. The Bulldogs also went 6-6 from the line over the course of the run. Rashard Todd's three-point field goal pulled the Blue Bears within one 19-18 and the Bulldogs still led 21-20 when they exploded with a 13-4 flourish to take a 34-24 lead. George scored six of the final ten points of the run while Jamison scored the other four.
Bowie State still held a ten point lead 39-29 with 3:46 left in the half when Livingstone added a 7-0 flourish to close the gap to three 39-36. Ramel Belfield started the run with a three-point field goal followed by a pair of free throws from Deon Patterson. Burhannon then added a layup to end the run with 1:34 left. George broke the run with a layup with 1:14 left and Jacob Long added a free throw with 49 seconds left to end the scoring and give the Bulldogs a 42-36 lead at halftime.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 6-3 mini-run to take a nine-point lead 48-39 at the 16:38 mark. Bowie State's lead oscillated between six and nine points over the next four minutes until a layup from Yohance Fleming gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game up to this point 55-44 with 12:22 left. Livingstone countered with a 14-2 uprising to take a 58-57 lead with 8:35 left in the game. Six straight free throws put the Bulldogs back on top 65-61 with 6:04 left. A Cameron Hayes three-point field goal and three free throws from Ahmaad Wilson later upped the Bulldogs lead to eight, 75-67 with 1:47 left.
Burhannon's three pointer with 1:34 left shaved the Bulldogs lead to five 75-70 and two free throws from Ray would close the gap to four 79-75 with 43 seconds left. A Bulldog turnover led to another pair of free throws from Ray and the Blue Bears were within two 79-77 with 21.8 seconds left. Wilson made one of two free throws with 3.2 seconds to make the score 80-77, giving the Blue Bears one last chance to tie. Livingstone could not convert their final attempt and the Bulldogs hung on for the win.
Bowie State finished the game shooting 44.7% (21-47) from the field and 68.8% (33-48). Livingstone shot 41.1% (23-56) from the field and 77.1% (27-35) from the free throw line. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Blue Bears 39-33.