Bowie State rode a wave of turnovers into the CIAA championship game.
The Bulldogs turned 30 Livingstone turnovers into 34 points in Bowie State’s 71-69 win in the semifinals Friday at Spectrum Center, knocking the Blue Bears out of the finals for the first time in five seasons.
Everything for us starts on defense,” said Bulldogs guard Michael Briscoe, who led all scorers with 24 points in addition to six steals. “We just try to pressure the other team and get out and run in transition because that’s what we do best.”
Bowie State (15-14) was at its best down the stretch, outlasting Livingstone (11-17) in a battle of clutch plays. The Blue Bears pulled ahead for the final time on Jimmy Wilson’s basket to make the score 67-65, but the Bulldogs, who connected on 43.1 percent of their shots, countered on Briscoe’s 3-pointer and three free throws to keep Livingstone at bay.
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“We battled, we didn’t always play pretty, we didn’t always play our best basketball, but we stayed together,” Bowie State coach Darrell Brooks said. “That’s the thing we kind of focused on the last few weeks of the year.”
Roger Ray paced Livingstone with 17 points while David Duncan added 11 points and 19 rebounds. The Blue Bears outrebounded Bowie State 42-24, but turnovers were the difference.
“Our games with Livingstone are like that,” Brooks said. “They like to full-court press, we’ll full-court press at times. That’s why it was ebb and flow.”
Fayetteville State 70, Virginia State 61: Joshua Dawson led all scorers with 28 points as the Broncos eliminated top seed Virginia State. FSU’s Josh Bryant added 15 points and Michael Tyson added 12 points and 11 rebounds. Richard Granberry led Virginia Union with 16 points and eight rebounds. Elijah Moore and Kevin Williams each added 11 points.
J.C. Smith 81, Virginia Union 75: The Golden Bulls shocked the nationally-ranked Panthers to earn a berth in the women’s final against Virginia State. J.C. Smith (20-7), which lost twice to Virginia Union (23-4) in the regular season, were steady down the stretch, thanks in part to backups Blaire Thomas and Monique Hall, who each scored 18 points. Anika Jones added 17 for the Golden Bulls and Maiya Green chipped in 12. The Golden Bulls’ reserves outscored Virginia Union 36-26.
Five Panthers hit double figures, led by Rachael Pecota’s 16 points. Brittany Jackson and Alexis Johnson added 14 apiece.
Virginia State 59, Lincoln (Pa.) 51: The Trojans outscored Lincoln 17-12 in the fourth quarter to improve to 22-7. Three Virginia State players scored in double digits, with Taylor Daniels with 17 points, followed by Joy Hickman’s 13 and Endia McKinney with 12.
Virginia State 59, Lincoln, Pa. 51
J.C. Smith 81, Virginia Union 75
Virginia State vs. J.C. Smith, 4 p.m.
Bowie State 71, Livingstone 69
Fayetteville State 70, Virginia State 61
Bowie State vs. Fayetteville State, 7 p.m.