Livingstone isn’t ready to give up its run as CIAA champion.
The Blue Bears went to double overtime to subdue J.C. Smith 97-91 in the quarterfinals of the CIAA tournament Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena to keep alive their hopes of a third straight title. Livingstone, the South Division’s fourth seed, survived an overturned buzzer-beater in regulation and a J.C. Smith layup to force the second overtime to pull away down the stretch.
“The biggest thing that I’m proud of is the young men persevered,” Blue Bears (13-16) coach James Stinson said. “When I felt a little wayward after the first overtime, they kept on sticking with the system, executing and we ended up getting the victory.”
Key to the Blue Bears’ success was their bench, which outscored the Golden Bulls’ 51-12. Livingstone forward Ty Newman, who volunteered to come off the bench during the regular season, scored 21 points and hauled down 13 rebounds for the Blue Bears, while Daryl Traynham added 16 points and five boards in a reserve role.
“I told the coaches let me come off the bench to get that spark,” Newman said. “It worked last year, so why not go back to it?”
J.C. Smith (14-11), the South’s top seed, led by as many as 11 points in the second half, led 79-74 in the first overtime before Livingstone rallied to go ahead on a pair of Eric Dubose (21 points) free throws with 4.6 seconds left. Dre Huntley was credited with a basket at the horn when Livingstone was whistled for goal tending, tying the game at 85-all.
“They outplayed us in overtime,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner said. “They outscored us 12-6 and by that time they got tired. Our bench didn’t give us much tonight, especially when our starters were struggling.”
Diondre Pratt paced the Golden Bulls with 22 points and 17 rebounds, followed by Alandre Davis with 20 points and Robert Davis with 19.
The Golden Bulls seized a 36-27 lead at the break by hitting 14-of-29 shots (48.3 percent) while limiting Livingstone to 9-of-35 (25.7 percent). Robert Davis and Alandre Davis produced a strong first half, combining for 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The Blue Bears counted with a 23-4 advantage from their bench, led by Ty Newman’s 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting and 5-of-18 accuracy on three-point shots.
J.C. Smith led by as many as nine points by exploiting a 22-8 gulf in the paint but Livingstone kept close with its three-point shooting.