#6 Shaw Finishes CIAA Season Undefeated; Downs Saint Augustine's 64-62
[Raleigh, NC] - CIAA Player of the Year Malik Alvin and his All-CIAA teammate Tony Smith paced Shaw as they downed Saint Augustine's 64-62 in a thriller played at a packed Emery Gymnasium on Thursday night. With the win, #6 Shaw completes an undefeated CIAA season and wins their 20th in a row.
The Bears improve to 24-2 on the season, 16-0 in the CIAA and 10-0 in the Southern Division. The Falcons even their record at 13-13, 8-8 in the conference and 3-7 in the division.
"This means we have a very good team and a very good coaching staff," said Shaw head coach Cleo Hill, Jr. "This has been a magical season and I didn't think we'd come this far and lose to a cross-town rival. That said, they (Saint Augustine's) played with a lot of pride and a very good game plan."
Even with the undefeated conference season hanging in the balance, Hill said the rivalry still mattered to the Bears. "No one wants to give an inch. That's how rivalry games ought to be played. There was a lot of pride going on in this game."
The Falcons, who had extended the Bears to overtime before losing the game played at Shaw earlier this season, took the Bears down to the final seconds and even had a last-second heave to win the game as the buzzer sounded. The shot fell well left as the Bears began their celebration of the unblemished conference skein.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead in large part on the work of Alvin, who scored ten points in the first 11 minutes of the game. With 9:00 left in the first, Alvin hit a layup on the fastbreak that gave Shaw a 20-6 lead.
Saint Augustine's battled back, cutting the lead to only four with a minute left in the half when Joel Kindred hit a layup to trim the Shaw lead to 31-27. Smith would add a layup to close out the half and send Shaw into the break with a 33-27 lead.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Falcons outscored Shaw 7-1 to tie the score at 34. Shaw rebuilt the lead to five, but Saint Augustine's again eliminated the advantage, tying the score at 39.
After Darrell Glass again knotted the score for the Falcons with a layup, Shaw went on a seven-point run, culminating in a Derrick Hunter dunk that gave the Bears a 54-47 lead with 7:18 left in the game.
With 4:36 left in the game, Junius Chaney slammed home a dunk that again gave Shaw a seven-point lead at 59-52. The Falcons scored the next six points, cutting the Shaw deficit to one.
Hunter hit a pair of free throws with 2:50 left to give the Bears a 61-58 lead, but Glass hit another layup to trim the Shaw lead back to one.
With 25 seconds on the clock, Tony Smith hit a layup, giving the Bears a 63-60 lead.
After a Saint Augustine's timeout, Joel Kindred drove to the bucket for a dunk, finding no resistance and drawing no foul, leaving the Falcons still trailing by one with 11.2 seconds showing on the clock.
The Bears got the ball inbounds and avoided being fouled for 9.2 seconds. When Saint Augustine's finally drew the whistle on a foul against Devon Mclendon, only two seconds remained. Mclendon hit the second of the two shots, giving the Bears the 64-62 final when the desperation heave went left.
Smith topped the Bears with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. Alvin added another 16 points.
Kindred led the Falcons with 13 points while Jeremy Banks and Tyron Laughinghouse each added 12. Laughinghouse had seven rebounds to lead the Falcons while David Brown had four assists to pace the squad.
With their finish, the Bears have earned a bye in the CIAA Tournament and will not play until next Thursday.
"You always have to be concerned about rust," said Hill. "But this will let us get some rest and rest will definitely help. But it will also give us the chance to clean up some things offensively and defensively. We need to tighten up some small detail things."