Charlotte, NC (CIAA) — It took Bowie State University a full half of basketball to get on track in Thursday’s CIAA Men’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game at the Spectrum Center. But once the second half began, the Bulldogs turned in a dominant final 20 minutes to upset second-seed Virginia Union University, 84-78.
Bowie State improves to 14-14 overall and will face Livingstone College in the first semifinal game on Friday at the Spectrum Center. Virginia Union falls to 22-7.
The Bulldogs shot 58 percent in the second half, connecting on 14-of-24 shots from the field. Bowie State also shot 30 free throws, connecting on 20 in the final 20 minutes of action. BSU finished the game shooting 48.1 percent (25-52) from the field and 28-42 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line.
It was Virginia Union that had the hot hand shooting in the first half, making eight of their first 13 shots, yet could not put much distance between themselves and the Bowie State squad as they led by only four points midway through the half, 19-15. The Panthers cooled off somewhat as the half wore on but still opened their biggest lead of the half at nine points, 27-18 with eight minutes remaining. Bowie State followed with an 8-1 flourish to close the gap to two at 28-26 with 4:23 remaining and later tied the game at 33-33 on Michael Briscoe’s (Waldorf, Md.) driving layup with 1:02 left, ending the scoring for the period.
Omari George (Baltimore, MD) led Bowie State with 13 first half points. The Bulldogs shot 39.3 percent (11-28) from the field for the period. Marcus Hoosier (Petersburg, Va.) led Virginia Union with eight points in the first half while the team shot 43.3 percent (13-30) from the field in the period. Bowie State was able to keep the game close by taking advantage of seven Virginia Union turnovers, leading to a 9-2 advantage in the points off turnovers category. Virginia Union scored 22 of its 33 first half points in the paint.
Bowie State and Virginia Union exchanged baskets to open the second half before the Panthers scored five straight points to take a 43-38 lead. The Bulldogs followed with a 14-4 flourish, taking their first lead of the game on a three-point field goal from Dayshawn Wells (Baltimore, MD) and increasing the gap to five at 52-47.
Virginia Union followed with six straight points to retake the lead at 53-52 but a 10-2 run by Bowie State, shifted the momentum and gave the Bulldogs a seven-point lead at 62-55 with 7:56 remaining. The Panthers closed within four points several times over the next five minutes before the Bulldogs put the game away on the free throw line hitting 13-of-17 over the final two minutes to secure the upset, 84-78
Bowie State placed four players in double figures with George leading the way with 24 points. Ahmaad Wilson (Baltimore, MD) scored 17 points while Briscoe added 16 and a game-high eight rebounds. Wells rounded out the double figure scorers for the Bulldogs with 13 points. Briscoe and Brian Kelley (Lanham, MD) had six assists apiece.
CIAA Player of the Year Ray Anderson (Wilmington, DE) led four Virginia Union players in double figures with 23 points. Hoosier added 13 points and James Paige (Herndon, VA) chipped in 12. Kory Cooley (Washington, D.C.) rounded out VUU’s double figure scorers with 11 points. Tavon Mealy (Richmond, VA) led the team with a game-high eight rebounds.
Virginia Union finished the game shooting 43.5 percent from the field, making 27 of 62 shots. The Panthers shot 20-29 (69 percent) from the free throw line.