CHARLOTTE, NC – The Fayetteville State men’s basketball team took another step towards winning their first Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship since 1973 with a 56-48 win over Johnson C. Smith University in the first semi-final game Friday night at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With the win, the FSU men’s program joins their women’s basketball program on championship Saturday, marking just the third time in their school history that both programs reached the championship game and the first time since 2001.
The third seeded Broncos improve to 24-7 with the win while the top seeded Golden Bulls drop to 20-8.
Will Brown earned his second straight Food Lion MVP of the Game award and led three FSU players in double figures, recording his second consecutive double-double with 12 points (5-8 FG) and 17 rebounds. Jalen Spicer also scored 12 points and dished out five assists while Darian Dixon chipped in 11 on 5-6 shooting from the field.
Cayse Minor was the lone JCSU player in double figures and led all scorers with 18 points. Frederick Calloway had five rebounds.
Fayetteville State scored the first basket and except for two brief ties early in the first half, led throughout. The Broncos used a 12-0 run midway through the first half to turn what had been a close contest into a 24-11 lead at the 6:30 mark. The Golden Bulls ran off three straight points to close the gap to ten but the Bronco defense stepped up, holding the Golden Bulls without a field goal over the final 5:26 and taking a 26-16 lead at halftime.
The Golden Bulls opened the second half with a 5-2 mini-run to cut the Broncos deficit to seven 28-21 before allowing the Broncos to score five straight to push their lead back up to double digits 33-21 with 15:35 remaining. The FSU lead fluctuated between nine and 13 points over the next six minutes as both teams continued to battle back and forth.
Denzel Hosch’s layup at the 9:25 mark gave the Broncos their biggest lead at the time, 45-31. A 10-5 run by the Golden Bulls cut the Broncos lead to single digits 50-41 with 5:03 remaining. Michael Roberson’s three-ball closed the gap to eight 52-44 at the 3:54 mark and Minor’s two free throws at the 3:04 mark made it a two-possession game at 52-46. Minor again went to the free throw line with 58.9 seconds left and sank two more, pulling the Golden Bulls within four 52-48. Dixon gave the Broncos some breathing room with a putback and Jalen Seegars delivered a slam dunk following a JCSU turnover with just 17 ticks on the clock, sealing the 56-48 win.
FSU’s defense limited the Broncos to just 15 field goals and a 33.3% (15-45) shooting effort. The Broncos also held a 39-29 rebound advantage. FSU shot 41.4% (24-58) from the field and outscored JCSU 19-12 off turnovers and 13-8 in second chance points.