CIAA Tournament Champs: Virginia universities take top spotsCourtesy CIAA / March 7, 2016
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Va. State – 89
Livingstone – 79
The Trojans used a 12-0 opening run in the second half to clinch their first title since claiming back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1988. They outscored two-time defending champion Livingstone College 54-43 in the second half after trailing 36-35 at halftime.
“I’m just so proud of my guys,” said Trojans’ Head Coach Lonnie Blow Jr., who became the first coach in history to lead two different teams to CIAA men’s basketball titles. “We set a goal earlier in the season to be conference champions. In August, we were weightlifting and getting up early, conditioning and doing things like that with this day in mind.”
The Trojans (22-5 overall), who earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament, were the best team in the CIAA during the regular season. They entered the CIAA Tournament ranked seventh in the Atlantic Region, and will await their national tournament seeding on the NCAA selection show, which will air March 6 on NCAA.com at 10 p.m.
During the tournament, the Trojans won three games in three nights by an average of 11.7 points. They put the Blue Bears in a hole early in the second half, and the Blue Bears, playing their fourth game in four nights, never led again.
Kevin Williams scored 19 points and Javon Moore scored 16 points in the second half as the Trojans knocked the Blue Bears off balance with a flurry of points. The Trojans led 47-36 at the 15:04 mark, and padded their lead to 64-49 with 8:45 remaining on Javon Moore’s free throw off his steal.
Led by guard Daryl Traynham, the Blue Bears had some fight left. Traynham scored 10 points during a 12-2 run to get his squad within five points. His three-pointer pulled the Blue Bears within 66-61 with 5:57 left.
The Trojans responded with their own run to put the game out of reach. Williams made two free throws for an 84-71 lead with 58 seconds remaining, capping an 18-10 run. The Trojans connected on 10 of 13 free throws during that span.
Daryl Traynham and forward Ty Newman both came off the bench to score 29 points and 21 points, respectively for the Blue Bears, the No. 4 Southern Division seed whose season ended at 15-16 overall. Juwan Cole added 11 points.
Va. Union – 70
Shaw – 66
Shaw (24-7) had a chance to seal the deal but VUU’s Kiana Johnson and Lady Walker combined for 10 points in the final 2:43 minutes to clinch the win.
Shaw Senior Eboni Ross had an outstanding performance, registering a double-double with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Senior Kaula Jacks netted 14 points and eight rebounds, while Aaliyah Mercer finished with 10 points.
Va. Union’s Kiana Johnson turned in a 32-point performance. The Lady Bears held her to a season-low four assists in the contest. Meanwhile, Walker notched 23 points and 20 rebounds.
Shaw kept the Lady Panthers at bay through much of the final stanza as the Lady Bears had a four-point lead with 3:30 minutes left to play before VUU converted on a four-point play to cut the lead 64-63, followed by a tip-in from Walker to give the Lady Panthers a one-point lead (65-64). In the next possession, Shaw turned the ball over and Johnson was able to knock down a 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining.
With seven seconds remaining in the contest, Ross scored a layup to trim the lead to 68-66. Both teams would call a timeout immediately after as two Shaw fouls put VUU in the bonus, Walker hit both shots to make it 70-66, still with seven seconds to play.
Following a full timeout by Shaw, the Lady Bears’ three point attempt was short and VUU was able secure the rebound for the win