By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
As Bowie State’s women finally cracked the national top ten in Division II they hit the Carolinas beginning with a stop at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte. The Bulldogs, coming off their struggle to hold off a comeback attempt by Winston Salem State should’ve gotten the message they could no longer catch other teams off guard anymore.
However, when they stepped onto the floor for the first time this year in the Queen City, BSU laid their biggest dud of the season. The Golden Bulls needed only 49 points to put an end to the best start in the program’s history at Brayboy Gymnasium. Kyaja Williams, the all-CIAA candidate was the only player in double figures leading them by scoring 13 of the team’s 38 points.
It was a nightmare from the start as BSU shot 17 of 57 from the field (29.5 percent) and committed 20 turnovers. The Bulldogs were out rebounded 56-31 and only scored five points in the third quarter as JCSU took control of the game.
Bowie State dropped to 13-1 overall and 3-1 in the CIAA with that loss, which also coincided with their dip in the national rankings. For JCSU it may have proven to be a season altering victory, after losing six of their first eight conference games.
Claflin was up next for BSU as they crossed over into South Carolina. The scheduling gods of the CIAA picked the wrong date for winless Lady Panthers to meet the angry Bulldogs- as the only drama would be whether Williams could join the exclusive 1,000 point club. She scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to reach the milestone as they got back on track in their record, with a 62-47 win.
Men’s Win Streak Ends At Five
While the women continue to garner the national attention, the BSU men are still in stealth mode as they battle for first place in the northern division. With four consecutive victories, these Bulldogs rode into the southernmost portion of their travel schedule
Despite the inability to close games, Bowie St. opened their Tobacco Road two step with an 80-77 win over JCSU. Saiquan Jamison led the Bulldogs with 17 points and 13 rebounds to help them escape Charlotte with the victory.
“To win at JCSU is always tough and we did the things we had to do to win the game,” said Bowie State Head Coach Darrell Brooks. “We really defended well in the latter part of the game, made shots and cut down on turnovers.”
However, Claflin gained a measure of revenge for an early season loss in what was deemed a non-conference game because of CIAA scheduling in Bowie, MD in December. The Panthers beat the Bulldogs 66-60 in what was considered a conference game in Tullis Arena. Junior Kani Coles finished with a career-high 13 points making 5-of-6 shots from the field and Jamison scored 11 with a game-high nine rebounds.