CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Livingstone displayed its balance in winning a second consecutive CIAA title on Saturday.
Guard Daryl Traynham scored 23 points and forward Eric Mayo added 22 points, respectively, for the Blue Bears, who upended Winston-Salem State 106-91.
The Blue Bears are the first team since Johnson C. Smith in the 2008 and 2009 seasons to repeat as CIAA champions.
“This is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had,” said Mayo, an All-CIAA player who was on both Livingstone championship teams. “We did it. It means the world right now.”
Traynham and Mayo paced five double-figure scorers for the Blue Bears.
All-CIAA Guard Eric Dubose scored 18 points and guard Ty Newman, the tournament MVP, scored 13 points.
All-CIAA Center Hakeem Jackson chipped in 10 points for the CIAA champions, who shot 57.9 percent from the floor.
Four-time All-CIAA forward WyKevin Bazemore led the Rams (18-10 overall) with 24 points and All-CIAA Rookie Team guard Terrell Leach pumped in 23 points.
All-CIAA Forward Donta Harper scored 20 points for the Rams, who shot 51.7 percent.
Both teams split the regular-season series and shared the Southern Division title, but there was no doubt who was the better team Saturday.
The Blue Bears (19-9 overall) hurt the Rams inside in the first half of the high-scoring affair. In the second half, the Blue Bears buried the Rams with their three-point shooting.
Bazemore tried his best to keep the Rams in the game.
He attacked the basket with abandon in the second half, which led to him making 16 of 20 free throw attempts overall. However, the Blue Bears had too much firepower in the end.
The Blue Bears flexed their muscle in the paint as they outrebounded the Rams 37-24.
They also canned 6 of 12 three-point attempts for 50 percent and hit 34 of 42 free throw attempts for 81 percent.
The Blue Bears outscored the Rams in the paint (44-34), in bench points (44-27) and off turnovers (30-16) which led to a decisive win.
“This is a great day for Livingstone basketball,” Blue Bears’ Head Coach James Stinson said. “The guys came out with a purpose. I loved their focus throughout the game. Overall, they persevered and did the job at hand. When I walked into the locker room, they were fully tuned in to what the goals were.”