By Lut Williams
Black College Sports Page
CHARLOTTE, N. C. – In a battle of two fatigued 4th-seeded teams playing their fourth game in four days, Bowie State of the North Division prevailed over Fayetteville State, their counterpart from the South, 62-54 in the championship game of the 2017 CIAA tournament here Saturday night.
Led by Tournament Most Valuable Player, 6-foot junior guard Ahmaad Wilson’s 20 points, the Bulldogs (16-14) moved out from a 21-20 halftime lead to go up by as many as nine points, at 39-30 on the last of Wilson’s four 3-pointers at the 12:48 mark. FSU (12-16) would cut the lead to three on three occasions, the last time at 52-49 on a Josh Bryant lay-in with 2:48 to play.
But BSU finished the game on a 10-2 run, eight of the points coming from the charity stripe, to gain the victory.
“It was a typical CIAA tournament game,” said victorious Bowie State head coach Darrell Brooks who won his second title in eight years on the job. His first title came in 2013. “It wasn’t pretty, both teams struggled offensively. I thought we just stuck to it. It was just one of those games where you had to be gritty and tough and take advantage of your opportunities. That’s what we did.”
Wilson, who scored his 1,000th point in a semifinal win, capped off a sterling tournament performance. He canned eight 3-pointers on the way to 30 points in an overtime win over Johnson C. Smith in the second round. He had 17 with three 3-pointers in a quarterfinal win over N. Div. top seed Virginia Union and 18 points and three more buckets from long range in Friday’s semifinal win over Livingstone.
“The only two things we preached this year was 'no excuses' and ‘toughness.’ Four games in four games was all that was,” said Wilson.
FSU senior Joshua Dawson, the hero of the Broncos’ semifinal win over Virginia State with 28 points, took only four shots and was held to nine points before fouling out with 2:12 left. Josh Bryant led FSU with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Big man Michael Tyson had 10 points and 8 boards.
“We just wanted to make him uncomfortable, make him work for anything he got,” said BSU senior Michael Briscoe in the postgame of his team’s defense on Dawson.
“Everything we do starts with our defense,” said Brooks. BSU forced 16 turnovers and had 10 steals and converted those into an 18-6 edge in points.
Bowie State got 11 points each from Briscoe and Omari George. Briscoe also led the Bulldogs with eight rebounds.
The fatigue showed as no team had a double-figure scorer and both shot below 33% in the first half. Both teams shot near 50% (FSU 54.2%, BSU 46.4) in the second half as play picked up.
Bowie State will receive the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Div. II Atlantic Regional that begins the week of March 6. Virginia State (22-5), who lost in the CIAA semifinals, and Virginia Union (22-7), who lost in the quarterfinals, have a shot of getting into the regional field. VUU was seventh and VSU eighth in the region entering play this week. Eight teams will make the regional field.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Ahmaad Wilson, Bowie State
Ahmaad Wilson, Bowie State
Michael Briscoe, Bowie State
Quincy January, Saint Augustine’s
David Duncan, Livingstone
Joshua Dawson, Fayetteville State
Elijah Moore, Virginia State
Michael Tyson, Fayetteville State
Josh Bryant, Fayetteville State
Robert Davis, Johnson C. Smith
Richard Granberry, Virginia State
John McLendon Sportsmanship Award
Johnson C. Smith