BRONCOS FACE LIVINGSTONE IN CIAA TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS
CHARLOTTE, NC – The Fayetteville State run at the CIAA Tournament continues.
For the first time in three years, the Broncos have advanced to the CIAA semifinals, where they will face Livingstone, a team Fayetteville State split the regular season series with.
The Broncos (15-13) come into the game riding an emotional high after Sidney Evans (Jr., Durham, NC) buried a game-winning 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining to lift Fayetteville State past rival and 2010-11 nemesis Winston-Salem State in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.
“To be a champion, it takes a lot of hard work,” said Evans of the win over the Rams, the Southern Division champion. “Maybe even a little bit of luck, too.”
Evans scored a game-high 22 points in the victory, which came on the heels of tremendous performances by John Herrington (Jr., Jacksonville, FL) and Tyrrel Tate (Fr., Raleigh, NC) in the opening-round game against Virginia State.
The Blue Bears (16-11) are also coming off a big win after slipping past the North’s No. 2 seed Virginia State 59-58 on Thursday. Donte Durant led Livingstone with 13 points and eight rebounds while Greg Henry added 11 points.
It is the first time since 2008 that FSU has reached the tournament semifinals, when the Broncos slipped by Bowie State 67-65 to advance to the finals to play Johnson C. Smith. This is the 10th trip to the CIAA Final Four for the Fayetteville State, which is 6-3 all-time in CIAA semifinal games. The Broncos and Blue Bears have met three times in the CIAA Tournament, with FSU holding a 2-1 record in that series, including a 70-67 win in the opening round of the 2009 tournament.
The Broncos won the first meeting this season at home against the Blue Bears 92-78 on Feb. 12, despite a career-high 32 points from Darius Cox, knocking Livingstone from the Atlantic Region rankings in the process. But the Blue Bears clipped Fayetteville State 58-56 in Salisbury on Feb. 21, getting 13 points from Quentin Redfern.
Fayetteville State coach Alphonza Kee said the Broncos won’t gameplan the Blue Bears much differently than they have earlier in the season.
“We have our style of play and we’ll do the best we can with that,” Kee said. “We’ll try to do what we do well, just like they’ll try to do what do well.”
Livingstone coach James Stinson was named as the CIAA Coach of the Year at the men’s basketball awards banquet on Tuesday night.
The winner will face either Shaw or Johnson C. Smith in the CIAA Championship on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Check back often for running commentary and analysis.
Pregame news: Fayetteville State starter Jarmel Baxter, a key defensive player for the Broncos, is out of tonight’s game with a sore knee. Freshman Devin Thompson will get the start in Baxter’s place. Thompson helped key a late run in the second half against Winston-Salem State.
17:44 Seth Hawkins settles the Broncos down with a 3-pointer after FSU has two turnovers in its first two possession while LC looks like its in perfect rhythm. 6-3, LC.
15:30 Broncos are doing a good job forcing Livingstone into jump shots rather than anything on the block. A Time Plummer jumper off an offensive rebound nets five straight for FSU, and this feels like a new game already, especially after how the first 2 minutes went. 6-5, LC.
14:59 Plummer with a put-back, and it’s a 7-0 Broncos run.
14:24 Make a 9-0 run after a deep jumper from Jarrick Jones in the corner. Big response for FSU, 9-6.
12:30 Tyrrel Tate with a three-point play, drawing the contact as he went up. Savvy, veteran move from the freshman. Broncos lead it 14-10.
Sidney Evans and Plummer with four rebounds each already.
11:16 Livingstone center Nasir Austin picks up his second foul. Big loss for a while there for the Blue Bears.
And Evans hits two from the line and the Broncos lead 16-11.
10:04 Darius Cox with the open 3. Broncos allowed just enough dribble-penetration to allow that. 18-all.
7:57 Livingstone re-takes the lead with a contested 17-footer by Cox. Nothing the Broncos could do about that one. 22-21, LC.
7:21 Plummer looks in great rhythm tonight, offensively and defensively. He buries a 3, and the Broncos hit on five straight points. FSU, 25-22.
5:18 Another contested shot, and again Cox just buries it. This looks like how he started his career-high 32-point night against FSU. He’s got nine already as the game is tied at 27-all.
3:52 Still 27-all, and it’s kind of hard to imagine either team making a large run in this game. These are two of the league’s top scoring offenses, and that’s been on display here. When FSU can make a quick outlet for its first pass in a possession, that tends to lead to a pretty easy basket. It’s about the first step for the Broncos in this one, who scored 92 points in the win over Livingstone and just 56 in the loss.
2:58 After a great steal and score on an inbounds pass by Plummer (he has nine points and six boards already), Livingstone’s Greg Henry posterizes about three Broncos with a one-handed jam. Then Trone Jackson gets a put-back up and in while being fouled. LC, 31-29.
2:23 Refs want to look at the monitor to see Evans use his elbow to push away Jackson, who had been called for a foul after reaching in to try to force a jumpball. Evans did use his elbow, but it was nothing more than something the refs could’ve evened out by just talking to Evans and Jackson.
And it doesn’t appeared that the monitor has it. Play on, with LC up 33-29.
1:10 Second foul charged to Herrington, who will have a seat. Herrington doing a nice job off the bench again with seven points. LC leads 35-33 after the foul shots.
35.4 seconds Andre Best’s dribble-drive draws Cox’s second foul. Good play for the Broncos. Cox has 13 and is in rhythm. Being in even a little bit of foul trouble could take him out of that rhythm. 37-34, LC.
:00 seconds Jones scores on a putback at the buzzer, and FSU trails by just one, 37-36 at the break. This one’s going to the wire.
18:56 Donte Fields with a put-back and Hawkins with a long 2 — no, wait, give him 3 after the montior review. Five straight to start for FSU and it’s a 7-0 run. FSU, 41-37. Hawkins with nine points.
17:08 Both teams trying to find a rhythm again in the second half. 43-41, FSU.
16:27 Austin with his third foul, and Livingstone goes to a zone. Broncos score quickly against with an Evans put-back. 45-41, FSU.
15:00 Cox hasn’t gotten many touches in the second half thus far, and it shows in the stagnation of the LC offense. 45-43, FSU.
14:03 Fields called for the foul as Jackson puts in the runner. The foul shot is no good, but LC ties it at 45.
13:13 Tate, like Cox, needs to get touches. This time Andre Best finds him, and Tate swishes a 14-footer. 47-45, FSU.
11:42 The pace has considerably slowed, and the odd thing about that is … it’s hurt BOTH teams. Neither one has any flow. But they’re equal. FSU 47-45.
11:00 Great, great offensive rebound by Tate, and the Broncos lead 49-45. Offensive rebounds just kill a zone.
10:30 Tate with two foul shots, and the Broncos take their biggest lead, 51-45. A modest, yet important, 6-0 run.
8:39 After six straight points right back from Livingstone — four by Quintin Redfern, Evans bounces back with a three-point play to give FSU a 54-51 lead.
6:35 Livingstone has slowed things way down on offense. Trying to spread the floor. Instead, they just throw it away late in the shot clock. 54-52, FSU.
5:27 Cox draws the foul against Evans, his third, and the Broncos’ 10th. LC in the double-bonus the rest of the way. Cox hits one, and it’s 54-53, FSU.
4:17 Broncos haven’t scored since the 8:39 mark, but LC hasn’t done much with it, scoring only two points from the line in that stretch. LC’s last field goal came at 8:50. 54-53, FSU.
3:15 Livingstone gets two foul shots from Cox, and now the Blue Bears lead, 55-54.
3:03 Plummer whistled for a player control foul. I thought the Oscars were last week. C’mon, it’s a 1-point game inthe final 3 minutes. Let ’em play.
2:54 Jackson with a runner in the lane, the fiert field goal for either team in about 6 minutes. Livingstone leads 57-54. It’s six straight points.
2:00 After nothing would go down, somehow Greg Henry makes an off-balance leaner to go. 59-54, Livingstone, and 8-0 run.
1:52 Plummer is fouled though, and heads to the line.
He misses the first.
Makes the second. 59-55.
1:22 Hawkins with a steal after LC had the offensive rebound.
1:07 Evans with a big bucket on the put-back. Broncos’ first field goal since the 8:39 mark. It’s a ballgame again, 59-57.
1:00 Broncos need a stop.
33 seconds Bad possession for LC, which tries to spread the floor. BUt they get a tough shot at the shot clock buzzer.
29.7 seconds And Best is fouled in the open flooor. Double-bonus, so Best can tie it.
But Best appears to be hurt. And he doesn’t look Broncos.
FSU will have to sub the foul shooter, and it has to be somehone who wasn’t on the floor.
And it’ll be Fields, who rattles the first one home. But he misses the second one. 59-58.
Long rebound to Jackson, who’s going in for the layup.
BUT IT’S BLOCKED BY FIELDS! WHAT A PLAY!
Broncos ball, and FSU calls timeout with 18.2 seconds left.
It’s win or go home.
Put Ariel Robinson in. He’s had a rough night, but you know the drill by now…
He always makes the big shot.
2.1 seconds Plummer to the rack.. he’s fouled.
Missed the first.
Have to pray for overtime now.
There’s the horn. Here we go.
4:39 Henry gets the lop and lays it in while being fouled. Broncos have to be careful they don’t fall behind too much too early. It’s their first OT game of the year. Three-point play, 62-59.
4:24 Good answer from Evans. 62-61.
3:47 Good defensive possession for the Broncos, and Fields draws the foul against Cox, his fourth.
Lane violation wipes out Fields’ make. Still 62-61, LC.
3:32 Broncos working offense-defense with Herrington and Fields.
3:21 Tyler Johnson with a three-point play. Damn. 65-61, LC.
2:18 The ball just fell into Cox’s hands. Plummer blocked a shot with the shot clock winding down, but the ball went to Cox. And he buries a 15-footer from the baseline. What can you do? 67-61, LC.
2:08 FSU turnover.
1:59 Jackson is fouled, and hits ’em both. The slipper doesn’t fit. 69-61.
1:48 Evans fouls out.
Redfern hits both. 71-61. 12-2 in OT.
1:41 Then again, Robinson makes big shots, just like that 3. Not done yet. 71-64.
1:40 FSU chooing to extend the game here, sending Johnson to the line. He hits one, 72-64.
1:37 FSU turnover.
1:35 Henry hits two foul shots. 74-64.
1:32 Robinson is fouled, and he calmly hits both. Still 90 seconds left. 74-66.
1:30 Broncos are going to keep extending it. Good plan. Make Livingstone earn its first trip to the finals.
And so far, they are. Henry hits 1 of 2. 75-66.
1:21 Need to score in a hurry, but that shot awas a little rushed. Rebound goes out of bounds to Blue Bears. And Redfern heads to the line.
1:14 Plummer is fouled. Good aggressive move. But it looked like it might go down. That would’ve been huge.
Plummer misses the first. Makes the second. 75-67.
1:12 Redfern back to the line. And he makes 1 of 2. 76-67.
55 seconds Broncos get a couple of looks at the basket, but nothing will go down.
35.6 seconds The iron unkind. Broncos have just three field goals since the 8:39 mark of the second half. It’s not meant to be. Only a matter of time running off now. 78-67
FINAL: LIVINGSTONE 81, FAYETTEVILLE STATE 71