The first day of the storied CIAA basketball tournament in Baltimore is in the books and several opening-round games came right down to the wire.
#6 Shaw Bears 62, #11 Claflin Panthers 49
Kicking off the day was the Shaw Bears advancing to the second round following a 62-49 win over Claflin. It is the first time the Bears have won a CIAA tournament game since 2016.
Despite what the score may indicate, this game was not at all close. Shaw got out to a hot start, outscoring Claflin 17-0 in the first five minutes.
Trailing 35-9 at the half, Claflin did their best to stay in the game going on a 15-2 run to start the third quarter.
In the end, the deficit was too insurmountable as the Panthers were unable to trim the margin below double digits.
#8 Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls 72, #9 Virginia Union Panthers 54
For the first time since their championship run in 2017, the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls won a game in the CIAA tournament.
In what was a close back-and-forth first half, the third quarter was the key to the Golden Bulls’ victory outscoring the Panthers 28-16.
In that quarter, the Golden Bulls shot an efficient 65% from the field while VUU only shot to 35% in the game.
Johnson C. Smith also turned up the defensive pressure in the period to force seven Virginia Union turnovers.
#5 Elizabeth City State Vikings 59, #12 St. Augustine’s Falcons 55
The Elizabeth City State Vikings avoided a major first-round upset escaping past the St. Augustine’s Falcons.
This was a back-and-forth affair that saw 14 lead changes throughout the game. However, similar to the Johnson C. Smith-Virginia Union contest, the third quarter was the difference maker.
The Vikings went on a 20-3 run to take a 12-point lead and maintained a double-digit advantage into the fourth quarter.
Although the Falcons were able to battle back to retake the lead, they were unable to keep pace with the Vikings down the stretch.
#7 Virginia State Trojans 66, #10 Livingstone Blue Bears 63
In the final first-round game of the day for the women, the Virginia State Trojans outlasted the Livingstone Blue Bears.
The win comes in spite of the Trojans’ leading rebounder and shot blocker Kylah Webb going down in the first quarter with a knee injury and not playing the remainder of the game.
Livingstone took full advantage of this attacking the paint to the tune of 44 points in the paint compared to 28 from Virginia State.
In the final 5:37 of the game, Virginia State outscored Livingstone 15-8 on their way to victory.
Quarterfinal Matchups (Wednesday)
#1 Fayetteville State Broncos vs #8 Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls
#2 Lincoln (PA) Lions vs #7 Virginia State Trojans
#3 Winston-Salem State Rams vs #6 Shaw Bears
#4 Bowie State Bulldogs vs #5 Elizabeth City State Vikings
#7 Shaw Bears 63, #10 Bowie State Bulldogs 53
In the first of two CIAA tournament games in the men’s bracket, the Shaw Bears advanced to the quarterfinals following a 63-53 win over the Bowie State Bulldogs.
The biggest takeaway from Bowie State’s loss was their inability to capitalize on point-blank looks at the rim throughout the game. The Bulldogs shot just 19% from the field in the first half.
#9 Elizabeth City State Vikings 74, #8 Livingstone Blue Bears 69
The Elizabeth City State Vikings men were the only team with a lower-seeded team that won their respective game in round one.
The Vikings win comes in spite of the fact that they committed more turnovers, were out-rebounded and shot significantly fewer free throws.
Elizabeth City got a massive effort from its bench, outscoring Livingstone’s second unit 26-11.
Quarterfinal Matchups (Wednesday)
#2 Fayetteville State Broncos vs #7 Shaw Bears
#1 Virginia Union Panthers vs #9 Elizabeth City State Vikings