Overtime Win Gives #17 Shaw Twelfth Straight
[Raleigh, NC] - Shaw overcame a five-point deficit late in the second half, then squeaked by Livingstone 80-77 in overtime in a game played at C. C. Spaulding Gymnasium.
The Bears - ranked 17th in the nation - have now won 12 in a row and improve their record to 16-2 overall, 8-0 in the CIAA and 2-0 in the conference's southern division. Livingstone falls to 4-10, 1-7 in the CIAA and 0-2 in the division.
They might not have won the game in the fashion he wanted, but Shaw head coach Cleo Hill, Jr., wasn't complaining. "I'll take it. It's 8-0 in the conference and 2-0 in the division. The way I look at it, it's January 26, and we haven't lost a game since the 13th of December - we must be doing something right. In the end, the goal is to have one more point than the other team."
Hill felt the team got critical contributions from a number of players, but said one of the critical components was a player who didn't make a bucket. "Derrick Hunter was the key for us. He didn't score a point, but when Omar (Ford-Bey) started to get hot for them, Derrick came in and shut him down."
The Bears, as they have much of the season, fell behind early. Livingstone built a six point lead, and held it with 10:36 left in the first when Ford-Bey hit a layup to give the Blue Bears a 19-13 advantage.
"I don't know," said Hill. "We just seem to be lazy on defense early in the game. Maybe we just need time to warm up."
Karron Johnson began the Shaw comeback, hitting a layup off a pass from Devon Mclendon to start what would become a 15-2 Shaw scoring run. With 5:02 left in the half, Curtis Hines sank a pair of free throws to give the Bears a 28-21 lead. Livingstone would trim the Shaw lead to three, 33-30 at the half.
Shaw opened the second half on an 11-4 scoring run, building the lead to ten with 14:42 left in the game. Livingstone fought back, scoring five straight. Over the next ten minutes, the Blue Bears would outscore the Bears 29-14, taking a five-point lead with 4:42 left.
The Bears scored seven straight - five of those from Tony Smith - to retake the lead, but Greg Henry hit a pair of free throws that tied the game for the seventh time. The two teams exchanged buckets, with Livingstone's Ethan Anderson hitting a jumper with only a second showing on the clock to tie the game and send it into overtime.
In overtime, Malik Alvin took over for the Bears, scoring seven of Shaw's 11 points in the extra period - compared to eight points for the entire Livingstone squad. Other than a free throw, all of Alvin's points came in the paint, often off a drive through the lane.
"Malik's just tough to cover at this level," Hill said. "He's just too fast. He has skills, too, but he can just rely on speed and get a lot of good things done."
Livingstone got six of their points off two threes - one from Greg Henry and another from Mark Thomas, which cut the Shaw lead to only two, but Alvin hit one of two free throws with eight seconds left to stretch the Shaw lead to three. Livingstone turned the ball over in the final seconds, unable to get off a final shot.
Alvin led all scorers with 25 points and Johnson added another 20. Junius Chaney, Smith and Hines had ten apiece. Chaney and Alvin led the Bears with five rebounds apiece. Smith had eight assists out of Shaw's 17.
"Our magic number is 13.5," said Hill. "If we can get 14 assists or more, we think we're going to win. We've been sharing the ball real well so far."
For Livingstone, Henry had 19, Thomas 12, Ethan Anderson 11 and Ford-Bey 10. Henry led all rebounders with six.
The Bears return to action Monday night when they host Fayetteville State in an 8:00 contest. Game is at C. C. Spaulding Gymnasium on the Shaw campus.