VIKINGS ADVANCE TO CIAA FINALS; TOP BOWIE STATE 66-63 IN OVERTIME
March 2, 2012
CHARLOTTE - Elizabeth City State took advantage of a poor shooting night at the free-throw line by Bowie State as the Vikings stunned the Northern Division top seed, 66-63 in overtime to advance to the CIAA Tournament Championship game on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
"We are very excited about being in the championship game," Elizabeth City State head coach Shawn Walker said. "This team has been through a lot. We've lost close games. The character of this team is really excelling at this point."
Elizabeth City State, which won the CIAA Championship in 2007, advances to the title game 8:30 p.m., on Saturday against the winner of Shaw and Winston-Salem State. The Vikings, winners of four out of its last five games, dropped a 63-60 decision to Winston-Salem State on Jan. 14 and fell to Shaw in overtime, 83-74, on Jan. 16.
"Whoever we will see, it will be a tough game," Walker said.
Bowie State finished the night by shooting 30 percent (8-of-27) from the foul line.
"It is tough right now to lose a hard fought game," Bowie State head coach Darrell Brooks said. "It was like a heavyweight fight. I am proud of my basketball team and we gave our best in a losing effort. We just didn't do a good job making free throws tonight and that was the difference in the game."
Angelo Sharpless led the Vikings (15-13) with a double-double, 27 points and 15 rebounds. Quintin Spady and Marquie Cooke had 12 and 10 points, respectively, as Elizabeth City State, which had 18 second-chance points, shot 31 percent (21-of-67) from the floor and 71 percent (17-of-24) from the free-throw line.
Bowie State, which swept the regular season contests with Elizabeth City State, fell behind, 5-0, within the first minute, but the Bulldogs used a 7-0 run, capped by Byron Westmorland 3-point to take their lead of the night at 7-5 with 16:26 remaining in the opening half.
The Vikings, who have defeated Bowie State to reach the CIAA Championship game twice, quickly responded with a 12-4 run, capped by Blake Price jumper to give Elizabeth City State a 16-11 advantage with 12:45 left.
The Bulldogs (22-6) couldn't get much going on offense and Elizabeth City State extended the lead to 22-16 after a Price layup with 7:58 remaining.
The Vikings managed just one field goal in the final 7:58 as Bowie State climbed back into the game with a 13-2 run to close out the first half and take a 29-24 advantage into the break.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 38-31 after a Jay Gavin 3-pointer with 16:50 remaining, but a three by Cooke kept the Vikings within striking distance by cutting the margin to 38-34 with 16:08 left.
That bucket started a 13-2 run during a six-minute stretch as Elizabeth City State roared back in front, 44-40, after a Sharpless 3-pointer with 10:01 left. The Bulldogs answered and tied the game at 44 with buckets by Najee White and Gavin, but a three by Spady quickly broke the 44-all tie with a 3-pointer to give the Vikings a 47-44 advantage with 7:46 remaining.
Spady's 3-pointer sparked an Elizabeth City State 8-1 run, capped by Cooke jumper to give the Vikings their largest lead of the night at 52-45 with 5:06 left.
It took just two minutes for Bowie State, which used a 7-2 run, to rally from the seven-point deficit as the Bulldogs got buckets by Westmorland, Darren Clark and Travis Hyman to tie the game at 54 with 2:10 left.
Sharpless put Elizabeth City State back on top with a jumper with 1:47 left, but Clark drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Bulldogs a 57-56 advantage with 1:24 remaining.
After both teams exchanged possessions, Sharpless went to the foul line with 8.1 seconds left, making the first of two shots. Bowie State had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Westmorland's shot was off the mark, sending the game into overtime tied at 57.
In overtime, the Vikings took a 62-60 lead after a free throw by Cook with 1:25 remaining, but Clark sank a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Bowie State a 63-62 lead with 1:09 to play. A Sharpless bucket with 47 seconds left put Elizabeth City State back on top, 64-63.
After an offensive foul by the Bulldogs with 29.1 seconds remaining, Bowie State was forced to foul.
Cooke sank both shots at the foul line with 20.2 seconds left to give Elizabeth City State a 66-63 advantage.
On the next Bulldogs possession, Julian Williams went to the free-throw line with 3.1 seconds left, but missed both shots to send Elizabeth City State into the championship game.
The Bulldogs, who entered the game 12-0 when shooting 50 percent or better, was 24-of-46 from the floor for 52 percent. Bowie State's previous low on field goals attempted (49) was on Jan. 9 in a 70-69 loss at Winston-Salem State.
Clark led the Bulldogs with 20 points and dished out seven assists. Hyman recorded a double-double with 14 points and a season-high 17 boards.