With two seconds showing on the clock, Shaw University senior guard Latrail McCoy drained a three from the left wing, pushing the Bears to a 92-90 victory over the Bowie State University (BSU) Bulldogs on Jan. 12 in Raleigh, N.C.
Bowie State senior forward Byron Westmorland led the Bulldogs with team-highs of 23 points and six rebounds. Senior forward Najee White finished with 19 points, junior guard Ray Gatling added 17 points and senior guard Bryan Wilson chipped in 11 points.
Shaw held off Bowie State, which came back from a 19-point deficit with less than 14 minutes remaining on the clock. Shaw committed ten turnovers in those last 14 minutes, while also missing five of six free throws, two on the front end of one-and-ones.
“Even though we came up short tonight, we did a better job taking care of the ball,” BSU head coach Darrell Brooks said. “However we didn’t do a good job on the glass.”
On overcoming Shaw’s 19-point lead, Brooks responded, “We don’t want any more moral victories, but I think we’re so close as a team to really playing to our full potential.”
Bowie State triggered their comeback when they switched to a stifling full-court press that seemed to lead to the Shaw miscues.
Junior guard Curtis Hines again led the Bears, this time with 29 points on a 10-for-15 shooting performance, including six for 11 from the three-point line. McCoy put up only one shot in the first half, which he missed, but had dished out four assists by halftime. All of his 15 points came in the second half, eight of them in the final 2:05.
Shaw got on top early in the game, building a 15-8 lead with 15:16 left in the first when senior guard Taurus Dortch hit a three. Two minutes later, a White jumper in the lane for Bowie State cut the Shaw lead to only three at 18-15.
For much of the rest of the half, the Shaw lead hovered at or about five points, with Bowie State able to get no closer than three, but Shaw was unable to build a lead of more than six. With 5:44 left in the half, Hines drained a three to finally push the Bears to an eight-point advantage, 34-26. Bowie State would again cut the lead to only five on a three pointer from senior forward Dameatric Scott.
For three and a half minutes, Shaw went on a 12-4 run to build a 13-point lead, and went to the locker room with a 49-37 lead.
The two teams battled back and forth in the first few minutes of the second half. With 15:10 showing on the clock, Bowie State junior forward Trawn Rogers hit a layup to trim the Shaw lead to 10 at 58-48. Hines answered with a three, triggering a nine-point Shaw run that concluded with a layup from Hines on the fastbreak to give Shaw a 67-48 lead with 13:39 left to play.
Bowie State slowly chipped away at the lead for the next three minutes. With 10:55 remaining, Hines slammed home a dunk that gave Shaw a 74-59 lead. The Bulldogs answered with a 9-3 run, concluding with a three from Westmorland which brought Shaw’s lead under double digits at 77-68.
Senior forward Karron Johnson had a dunk for Shaw to take a 10-point lead again, but Bowie State answered with a 13-3 run, ending with a layup from Wilson to cut the Shaw lead to only one at 82-81 with 4:02 left. Johnson had another dunk off an assist by McCoy, but Gatling hit a pair of free throws to again put Bowie State within a bucket with 3:32 left.
Neither team scored for a minute, but with 2:26 left in the game, White hit a layup to give Bowie State their first lead since the opening minutes of the game, at 85-84. McCoy responded immediately with a three to give the Bears a two-point margin. Scott answered for the Bulldogs with a three of his own.
It was then McCoy’s turn to reclaim the lead, which he did on a layup, making the score 89-88 for Shaw with 1:33 left in the game.
Both teams fell silent for another minute until Gatling hit a layup with just under 12 seconds left, setting the stage for McCoy's final bucket which gave the Bears the lead with 2.1 seconds left.
Wilson launched a shot from just over mid-court as the buzzer sounded, but it bounced off the rim, giving Shaw the win.
Four Bears finished with double-digit point totals. In addition to Hines’ 29 points, Dortch had 15 points, Johnson scored 14 points and McCoy netted 13 points, the latter all scored in the second half. Johnson had a double-double, adding 12 rebounds to his 14 points. Hines and McCoy led the Bears with five assists apiece, while junior guard Derrick Hunter finished with eight points and four steals.
Bowie State will take on the Fayetteville State (FSU) Broncos Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at FSU’s Capel Arena.