CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Shaw Head Coach Cleo Hill Jr. could not believe his eyes when he glanced at the stat sheet.
“I thought it was a typo,” Hill said about the 47-16 rebounding advantage his Bears held against Johnson C. Smith.
The Bears’ dominance on the glass led to a 76-54 men’s second-round basketball victory over the Golden Bulls in the CIAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday.
The Bears head to the CIAA quarterfinals where they take on Southern Division co-champion Winston-Salem State on Thursday.
The Bears entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed in the Southern Division, but have reeled off wins against Virginia Union and Johnson C. Smith by playing aggressive. Even Hill was surprised by how badly his team beat the Golden Bulls on the boards.
Koron Reed pulled down 16 rebounds which was the same amount as the entire Golden Bulls’ squad. No Golden Bulls’ player grabbed more than four rebounds.
The Bears (13-15) outrebounded the Golden Bulls by a whopping 28-6 margin in the second half which led to the blowout. They outscored the Golden Bulls 50-29 in the final 20 minutes with 13 points coming on offensive rebounds.
“It is a testament to the guys,” Hill said about his team. “We imposed our will on the boards.”
Jamar Cooper scored a game-high 17 points and Joe Reid added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bears. Koron Reed scored 15 points to go along with his 16 rebounds and DeAaron Ward hauled in seven rebounds.
Cooper had 15 points while Koron Reed totaled 11 points and 10 rebounds in the second half when the Bears took over the contest. The Bears led by eight around the 10-minute mark, but a 20-6 run capped by Cooper’s three-pointer pushed the lead to 66-44 with 4:13 remaining.
Legendary Golden Bulls’ Head Coach Stephen Joyner, Sr. says it’s obvious why the Bears were victors.
“Shaw was the aggressor,” Joyner said. “They beat us up. Our energy level wasn’t there.”
Joshua Linson led the Golden Bulls with 12 points and All-CIAA player Stedmon Lemon added 10 points. The Golden Bulls, who were the No. 4 Southern Division seed, end their season at 14-14 overall.
The second half was a sharp contrast from the first half. The Bears went into halftime with a 26-25 lead after holding a nine-point lead.
The Golden Bulls rallied late in the first half and appeared ready to make a second-half run in their home city. But the Bears had other ideas.
“They were relentless,” Hill said about his team.