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CIAA Basketball Tournament opening day recap: Bowie State men escapes with a win, Livingstone women knock off Fayetteville State 

Women’s results

No. 12 Livingstone College 49, No. 5 Fayetteville State 38

Tournament time has taught the sports world to expect the unexpected.

Livingstone, the lowest-ranked program entering the CIAA women’s basketball tournament, kicked off the week of competition by notching a double-digit win over the fifth-ranked Fayetteville State on Tuesday morning.

Forward Jamiah Lane led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds while guard Daijah Turner added 11 points to lead the Blue Bears to a 49-38 win in the opening round of the CIAA Tournament. Lane, a 5-foot-11 junior, was named the Food Lion MVP of the Game.

The Blue Bears outscored the Broncos in every quarter, outrebounded them 49-38, and went on a 9-0 run in the final two minutes of regulation en route to the comfortable win.

After a fairly even first quarter, Livingstone held the Broncos to only four points in the second on 1-of-10 shooting from the field. Neither team shot particularly well, but the Blue Bears’ bench outscored the Broncos’ bench, 30-4, and scored 14 second-chance points to the Broncos’ four.

Morgan Graham registered 16 points, eight boards and eight blocks to lead FSU, which falls to 13-12 overall with the loss. Junior guard Rasheka Simmons netted 14 points to go with four rebounds and three steals for the Broncos.

Livingstone, led by head coach Chiante Wester, improves to 7-19 with the victory and advances to take on No. 4 Johnson C. Smith on Wednesday at noon.

No. 8 Winston-Salem State 67, No. 9 St. Augustine’s 54

Kennedi Simmons, Amaya Tucker and Tyliah Burns led a balanced offensive effort for the Winston-Salem State women’s basketball team in an easy win over St. Augustine’s in the opening round of the tournament.

Simmons recorded 12 points and four rebounds, Burns scored 11 and Tucker bounced back from early foul trouble to finish with 10 points and six assists to lift the Rams to a 67-54 win over the Falcons on Tuesday afternoon at Royal Farms Arena.

Tucker, a sophomore guard, shot 50 percent from the field and was named the Food Lion MVP of the Game.

By halftime, WSSU was shooting 13-of-29 from the field and held a 32-19 advantage after holding SAU to seven points in the second. Brooke Spalding and O’Shae Hatley combined for 12 points in the first half to pace the Rams early on.

The Falcons responded with a 9-0 scoring run in the third, trimming their deficit from 39-23 to 39-32 to force a WSSU timeout with about five minutes remaining in the quarter. The scoring run was snapped immediately after the Rams came out of the timeout when Kyree Hall found Burns for a lay-in under the basket.

A few more buckets by Burns on ensuing possessions helped WSSU reclaim a double-digit lead, 50-38, going into the fourth. About midway through the fourth, the Rams led 59-42 on their way to virtually putting the game out of reach.

Exceptional ball movement and second-chance scoring opportunities enabled WSSU to remain in control down the stretch.

WSSU improves to 12-12 with the win and will face top-ranked Lincoln in the quarterfinal round on Feb. 23 at 4:30 p.m.

No. 11 Virginia State 62, No. 6 Shaw 38

Virginia State’s sizable win over Shaw marks the third time a lower-ranked team won on opening day.

Natalia Leaks scored a game-high 20 to go with nine boards and four assists, and Kaaliya Williams 13 points and six rebounds to lead the No. 11 Trojans to a big 62-38 win over No. 6 Shaw on Tuesday evening in the CIAA Tournament opener.

Shayla Sweeney added 12 points and three steals for VSU.

Both clubs got off to slow starts, struggling to find their offensive stride as VSU led only 7-5 after the first.

The offensive struggles continued in the second quarter, but Virginia State capitalized off Shaw turnovers over the course of the period to slightly expand its lead and stay on top, 18-11, by intermission. By that time, the Bears were held to three field goals on 16.7 percent shooting.

To open the second half, the Trojans continued to force turnovers thanks to a full court trap the Bears seemingly didn’t have an answer for. The Trojans’ consistency on the boards on both ends and ability to draw fouls was crucial in sustaining control down the stretch.

Just before the break, Virginia State took a double-digit lead on a 17-foot jumper by Williams.

In the latter half of the contest, the Trojans found their offensive rhythm, maximized second-chance scoring opportunities, entering the fourth, VSU was in front 37-24 and Shaw had 19 turnovers. VSU extended its lead to 20 off an and-one layup by Leaks in the fourth quarter.

The Bears were led offensively by Makenzie Pollard, a Baltimore native and graduate of Western High School. The junior guard finished the evening with 12 points and four rebounds in the losing effort. Shaw drops to 10-15 on the season as VSU moves to 12-16 and keeps its postseason hopes alive with the big win.

Men’s results

No. 10 Bowie State 60, No. 7 Elizabeth City State 52

Bowie State defended its semi-home court by avenging a recent Feb. 19 loss to ECSU thanks to huge performances from guards Anthony Carpenter and David McCullough.

Carpenter, who received Food Lion MVP of the Game honors, finished the night with 17 points – that included some pivotal late-game 3s – and McCollough poured in 14 points and seven rebounds to power the Bulldogs to a narrow win over No. 7 Elizabeth City State to kick off CIAA Tournament Week.

Early on, the Bulldogs were fueled by Carpenter and McCullough, both of whom tallied eight points in the first half to help their team to a 28-18 lead heading to the locker rooms.

The output from both squads were fairly even in the first half; however, Bowie State shot more efficiently and got to the free throw line more often, which appeared to be the most noticeable difference. Outrebounding their opponents, 38-33, also played a role in the outcome for the Bulldogs, the primary host of the tournament.

Kobby Ayetey got a putback dunk with 12:50 left in the second half that aroused the crowd, pushing Bowie’s lead to 38-23. ECSU responded with a small scoring run to try and keep the game competitive as the contest drew to a close. A three-point play by Jayden Belotti narrowed the Vikings’ deficit to 48-39 at the six-minute mark.

Zaccheus Hobbs netted 13 points to lead the way for the Vikings. The Bulldogs (7-11) fended off a late-game rally by ECSU (14-13), making a number of timely plays to come out on top and advance to the quarterfinal round against No. 2 Virginia Union on Wednesday at 8:50 p.m.

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