Charlotte, NC (CIAA) – Livingstone converted at the free throw line down the stretch to squeak past Chowan 74-69 in a CIAA Tournament men’s quarterfinal game at the Spectrum Center on Thursday.
The Blue Bears (11-16 overall) connected on eight free throws in the final minute including two free throws by All-CIAA player David Duncan for a 70-68 lead with 19.1 seconds remaining. The Hawks (18-9 overall) had a chance to tie with 6.9 seconds left but missed a free throw and committed a lane violation on another free throw which they made.
All-CIAA Rookie player Roger Ray and Jimmy Wilson each made two free throws in the final 5.6 seconds for the Blue Bears, who take on the Bowie State-Virginia Union winner in Friday’s semifinal game at 7 p.m. The Blue Bears, who are the No. 2 Southern Division seed, are attempting to reach the championship game for the fifth consecutive year.
“Being here is not the only thing we are trying to do,” Blue Bears Head Coach James Stinson said. “We want to win and advance.”
The Blue Bears relied on free throws to rally past Chowan, which controlled most of the second half. They made 20 of 29 free throws for 69 percent while the Hawks were 19 of 33 for 57.6 percent.
The Hawks were also pounded on the boards as the Blue Bears won the rebounding battle 52-27 which led to a 14-5 advantage in second chance points. David Duncan out-rebounded the Hawks by himself as he grabbed 30 boards to go with 13 points.
“I thought I had 20 but I’ll take it,” Duncan said.
Despite missing more free throws and getting less rebounds, the Hawks still managed to seize control of the second half. Down by one at halftime, the Hawks opened a 55-46 lead on Carlos Arroyo’s layup with 12:24 in the game. Their lead reached nine again at 57-48 on All-CIAA player Jeremy Smith’s jumper before the Blue Bears began their run.
“We switched from man-to-man to zone defense and got long rebounds which turned into points,” Arroyo said.
The Blue Bears responded with their own run to tie the game at 68-68 with 40.9 seconds remaining. The rally set up a dramatic finish which resulted in another semifinal appearance for the Blue Bears.
Cameron Burhannon sparked the Blue Bears with 16 points and Ray added 10 points for the Blue Bears. Ramel Belfield and Wilson each added eight points.
Arroyo led four double-figure scorers with 14 points for the Hawks, the No. 3 Northern Division seed. Smith added 13 points and eight rebounds while Kevin Kuteyi and Tim Hewett each added 12 points.
The Blue Bears started swiftly in the first half, jumping out to a 23-9 lead on Emarri Bailey’s jumper. The Hawks didn’t panic as they finished the half on a 23-10 run to close within 33-32 at halftime. The momentum carried over in the second half until the Blue Bears made their final push.
Burhannon had eight points and Duncan had 11 rebounds for the Blue Bears in the first half. Arroyo scored eight first-half points and Hewett added seven points for the Hawks.
“We started well for a change,” Stinson said. “We started to fade towards the end of the half.”
But the Blue Bears came alive in time to pull out the victory.
“The young men had the patience of Job,” Stinson said.