When you’ve lost seven of your past eight games, a tough win over your rival may be just the ticket to getting back on track.
Shaw used a stifling defense and rode the backs of its three leaders to defeat Saint Augustine’s 52-41 Saturday at Emery Gymnasium. The victory was revenge from the Bears’ Jan. 24 home loss to the Falcons.
Shaw held St. Aug’s to its lowest output since a 76-47 loss to Chowan on Jan. 15.
“We haven’t been playing poorly but we haven’t played good ball, either,” Shaw coach Cleo Hill Jr. said. “So I was happy to see how well we executed offensively, and even when we turned the ball over, we didn’t let them score. I’m hoping the leadership of Larry (Richardson), Joe (Reid) and Koron (Reed) will carry us over the hump.”
Richardson, Reid and Reed combined for 45 of Shaw’s 52 points.
Richardson scored 20 points, including Shaw’s final 11 to give the Bears a 23-15 low-scoring halftime lead.
Shaw hit 47.6 percent of its shots while limiting St. Aug’s to 28.6 percent, including 12.5 percent from 3-point range.
“Coach was running sets for me and the guys were getting me open shots. I just wanted to knock them down,” Richardson said. “This is still a big rivalr,y and we wanted a little bit of revenge from that loss.”
Shaw’s defense held the Falcons scoreless for the first eight minutes of the second half. Meanwhile the Bears reeled off eight straight points to extend their lead 31-15. It could have been more if not for some porous free throw shooting. At one point, Shaw was 4 of 10 from the line, a frustration Hill can do without.
“It does bother me, but we’ve been missing free throws all season,” he said. “I just want them to be more aggressive and get to the line, and hopefully they’ll make their free throws.”
Just as Richardson gave Shaw (6-8 CIAA, 11-13 overall) the edge in the first half, Reed kept the Bears ahead in the second. The 6-foot-7 senior forward finished with a double-double – 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Falcons (5-9, 11-13) were held to 18.5 percent shooting in the second half.
“When I grab a rebound, I have control over my game,” Reed said. “And I felt in control in the second half for the most part.”
St. Aug’s senior guard Raheem Jolliffe led the Falcons on a mini-rally with 13 of his 15 points in the second. The Falcons closed to within six with 7:11 left, but could get no closer.
Richardson said the win opened their eyes.
“This game showed us what we have to do to win,” he said. “We really didn’t understand before, but now we know how to play a full game our way to win.”