CIAA Tournament – Day Three
Think some folks may have gone to Bojangles instead. Sparse crowd but it is cloudy and rainy outside. Sure they'll show up for JC Smith women's game.
I am still reflecting on the empathy shown to St. Aug's senior Quincy January by the Virginia State team last night. In case you missed it, January sat on the floor crying after the loss and almost the entire Trojans team walked over to console him, players pulled him up and hugged him. As someone said in the media room, "You wouldn't see that at an ACC Tournament." That's a moment that should have been on a SportsCenter Top 10. Classy act.
VIRGINIA STATE VS. WINSTON-SALEM STATE - WOMEN
Unlike the teams yesterday, the Lady Trojans are having no scoring drought. VSU is putting it on the Lady Rams early on. Lead 34-20 with 6:07 left in first half. At this pace VSU may have 50 points by halftime.
Are those new uniforms the Trojans are wearing? Different look with the stripes at the bottom.
Coach James Hill is taking no prisoners. VSU is swarming WSSU right now. Lead 43-24. Rams have no answer. They better come up with something during halftime. VSU's Chrisanna Green has 14 points and 4 rebounds. Make that 46-24. But we've seen stranger things happen and all a team has to do is get hot from 3-point range. End of half.
VSU shot 56.3 percent from the field. And Alexis Smith just knocked down another trey while I was writing, She now has 12 points. It's 51-26.
Uh oh, Rams have cut it to 20 with 5 minutes left in third period. Is there a rally on the way? Tiana Edwards goes the distance and is fouled. Down to 18. Timeout. Edwards makes the FT. Down to 17 but Keyana Brown hits a layup, but Edwards nails a 3. She has WSSU's last 9 points I believe.
A technical has just been called on VSU. Edwards makes 1 of 2. Briana Arnold pushes the league down further to 15 with 2:12 left in the third. Will WSSU run out of time?
And for the game, we have an all-female ball girls/ball boys crew today. Do love seeing the youngsters involved.
Ebony Reynolds just hit back-to-back baskets and the Trojans have weathered the mini-run. They lead 67-44 as we head to the fourth perod. VSU takes on Bowie State tomorrow in the first semifinal.
The Trojans are up to 80 points with 2:45 left. Alexis Smith and Chrisanna Green have 22 and 23 points, respectively. Green needs one more rebound for a double-double.
Game over: VSU 83, WSSU 65.
Some performance by the Trojans. And they never let up. Goodness. Green named player of the game.
I didn't notice it at first but was told that the upper deck has been tarped off to cover the empty seats. And it's true. All the remaining men's games are TV so they are getting ready.
J.C. SMITH VS. LINCOLN - WOMEN
Started not to come back out for this game 'cause I really think it's going to be a blowout by Smith. But, so far anyway, the Lions are only down by 1 as the first period ends. Nope, actually took the lead as time expired, 15-14.
See, this is why I bought a keyboard cover to go over my laptop keyboard; a colleague gave me three humongous hot wings dripping with sauce. Wasn't going to turn them down.
By the time I finished, it was halftime. Smith leads 28-27 after trailing for most of the first half. Much better crowd now.
We have a game folks. Score is tied with 6:27 left in third. Every time it appears Smith is going to pull away Lincoln comes up with a big basket.
Asha Jordan just made an acrobatic layup to give Smith a 4-point margin.
Forget that lead. McKenzie Spencer's layup ties the game at 37 with 2:19 left in third. Lincoln takes the lead 39-37. And Shecquan Bailey makes it four points before Smith closes the gap to 2. Game tied at 41 again with 17.6 seconds left in third.
End of third: 41-41. Another good game.
Shahra Madison's FT gives Lincoln a 1-point lead with 7 minutes left. But Malia Rivers puts Smith ahead with a short jumper. And Bailey comes right back with a 3-pointer. 45-43 Lincoln. Jasmine Carter does one better and ties the game but Madison puts Lincoln up. Kendall Adams comes back and ties the game again. Oh, I'm lovin' it!!!
3:07 left and still tied at 47. Crunch time!!
Nobody can hit.
The men start at 7 p.m. Crowd has to leave the building and come back.
Bailey just nailed a three and was fouled. Misses 50-47 LU with 2:05 left. Turnover Smith. LU gets the ball and the lead. 1:57 left.
Bailey is fouled. At the line. Makes 1. Makes 2. 52-47 with 1:44 left.
Kendall Adams hits a layup and Smith steals the ball. Carter at the line. Makes 1. Makes 2. 52-51 LU leads with 1:13 left.
Three straight turnovers by Lincoln gives Smith chance to retake the lead with less than a minute left. LU steals the ball but is tied up. Smith gets possession. This game should be on TV.
Smith misses on two attempts. LU gets the ball. Spencer at the line. Makes 1. Makes 2. 54-51 with 21.4 seconds left. Will there be a new women's champion this year?
Turnover Smith. Bailey at line. Makes 1. Makes 2. 58-51 with 18.5 seconds left.
Asha Jordan at the line. Misses 1. Makes 2. 56-52 with 13.2 left.
Michelle Fitzgerald at the line. Makes 1. Makes 2. 58-52 with 10 seconds left.
There's going to be a new champion!!
SHAW VS. VIRGINIA UNION - MEN
This game is either going to be tight till then end or a blowout. It all depends on which Shaw team shows up. The Bears have gone out in the first round the last two years under coach Joel Hopkins. Can they finally make a run?
Coor's Light is presenting a check for $10,000. What's $10,000 from a beer company? They spend that at a weekend party. And divided by 12 schools, how much is that?
Anyway, right now we have a good game in the works. It's tied at 15 with both teams going to the basket aggressively.
Switched away for a brief moment to watch the final minutes of the of the NCCU vs. N.C. A&T women's game. The Lady Aggies won by the skin of the teeth, 60-57, which gives them a share of the MEAC title I think.
Game is still close. Shaw leads 25-21 with 6:37 left in first half. Shaw is playing much better than the previous two seasons in just one half.
But look at the Panthers. Kory Cooley ties the game on a running layup with 3:10 left in first half.
Micah Thomas gives VUU a 33-30 lead with a 3-pointer.
Todd Hughes hits a basket as time expires to give VUU a 38-34 lead at the half. Hughes has 13 points, while DeAngelo Stephens-Bell has 212 for Shaw.
Shaw has reversed a four-point deficit to lead 57-53 with 9 minutes left. Goodman gives Bear a 6-point lead. Both Goodman and Stephens-Bell could have been named CIAA player of the year but they cancelled each other out by being on the same team. Not that Robert Gray of J.C. Smith wasn't worthy.
Panthers on a run. Can take the lead but shot an airball. 59-58 Shaw with 7:16 left.
Krishaun Myers jumper gives Bears 63-58 cushion with 5 minutes left. The winner of this game takes on Virginia State tomorrow at 7 p.m.
But hold on, James Paige nails a three and cuts the lead to 2 with 4:01 left.
And just like that, VUU has tied the game at 64 with 3:15 left. Shaw has gone cold and getting frustrated. Hughes gives Panthers two-point lead with 2:17 left. But Stephens-Bell comes right back.
Jenkins gets the putback and VUU is back ahead by 2. Shaw just missed an easy layup that would have tied the game. Can you say Fayetteville State women. Shaw gets steal and Stephens-Bell misses a breakaway layup. But Shaw gets ball back. 34.7 seconds left.
A Shaw turnover. VUU has the ball with 17 seconds left. Timeout.
Hughes at the line for 1-and-1. Makes 1. Makes 2. 70-66 with 14.8 seconds left.
Why do players foul when they're ahead. You need to run out the clock son. Stephens-Bell at the line. Makes 1. Makes 2. 70-68 with 10 seconds left. Shaw had a chance to tie or win but shot was blocked. Another disappointing and early exit for the Bears.
UPDATE: Coach Joel Hopkins and the players were visibly upset in the postgame press conference over the officiating. One call in particular: a charging call on VUU was reversed to a block on Shaw. The Bears were leading by 3 at the time. The Panthers got the ball, scored and gained the momentum.
"The officiating was terrible," Hopkins said. "I'll put it out there. That call was terrible. It changed the outcome of the game..."
Stephens-Bell echoed his coach's sentiments. "We were robbed," he said. "They [officials] didn't want us to win. We were robbed."
Now, if Leon Kerry was still commissioner, Hopkins would be writing a $500 check before he boarded the bus. I don't know what policy this current administration has in place.