By Mark F. Gray, Staff Writer, [email protected]
BOWIE STATE BOUNCES BACK FOR CIAA WIN
Bowie State ended a two-game losing streak by stopping Johnson C. Smith. This was a critical early win as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) race went into high gear even as winter break continued. Redshirt junior David Belle sank a pair of free throws with .4 seconds remaining in the game to lift the Bulldogs to a key 67-65 victory which moved them to 2-1 in conference play.
BSU used stellar defense and dominance on the glass to earn what may prove to be a season changing win for a young team. Bowie State head coach Darrell Brooks has been patient as his youthful group evolves into a cohesive unit. This game was by no means a work of art. However, the grind it out nature of the win may signify what it will take for them to be successful as their march to the CIAA Tournament begins.
“We did a really good job defensively today,” said Brooks. We remained resilient and kept defending to earn the win.”
Sophomore Keith Duffin Jr. and junior Cameron Hayes paced the Bulldogs with 16 and 13 points respectively despite missing nine of their 16 field goal attempts. Junior Saiquan Jamison led all rebounders with 12, scored six points and two shots.
HOWARD LOSES MEAC OPENER
Howard’s offensive struggles continued in their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) opener against Florida A&M at Burr Gymnasium. The Bison fell to the Rattlers 82-72.
The Bison remain shorthanded in the paint as their two main interior players recover from injuries, which have at least temporarily derailed an optimistic start to the regular season.
Their backcourt, who must play well every game, was inconsistent. They have yet to play a complete game as a tandem but were almost good enough to tip off their conference schedule with a victory. Preseason all-MEAC guard Charles Williams led them with a game high 25 points. Williams was an efficient 8-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-6 on his three-point attempts. Redshirt junior Chad Lott added 19 points and seven rebounds in his first game back since returning from injury.
R.J. Cole, the MEAC’s preseason player of the year, struggles continue with shooting from the field. The sophomore guard finished with 19 points. Cole made four of his nine field goal attempts but did most of his scoring from the free throw line as he continued to attack the rim while his jumper wasn’t falling.
Howard was again hampered by turnovers, committing 20 with 14 in the first half, which led to the early deficit they erased. However, the Bison were again outrebounded as the Rattlers shutdown transition opportunities that fueled a second half comeback.
“We did not do a great job rebounding,” said Howard coach Kevin Nickelberry. “What helps us get going is our rebounding and we just did not do a great job.”
The Bison fell apart defensively down the stretch in the second half. Florida A&M shot 58 percent for the game and were a blistering 18 of 27 (67 percent) from the field after the intermission. FAMU got balanced scoring with five players scoring in double figures led by Justin Ravenel’s 20 points. Once Nasir Core nailed a three pointer with 9:27 remaining, the Rattlers took the lead for good and pulled away for the victory.
“Our biggest adjustment is trying to figure out the other side of the basketball [defensively],” Nickelberry concluded. “If we cannot get stops, we cannot get out and run. They kept us in the half-court all night and we must do a better job of getting stops.”