RICHMOND, Va. – In a non-conference tilt, the Shaw University men's basketball team (3-3) led Virginia Union University (7-3) most of the way before succumbing to a late rally in a 77-75 decision Saturday afternoon inside Barco Stevens Hall.
Senior Joshua Cassady (Raleigh, NC) had his best game as a Bear as he scored a career-high 23 points and ripped down 18 rebounds, 14 off of the defensive glass in addtion to a career-high 12 blocks. He was joined by senior guard Benji Bell (Gainesville, FL) with 23 points and nine assists in his debut as a Shaw Bear. Senior guard Larry Richardson, II (Garner, NC) added 13 points and three assist in the loss.
The Bears would jump out to an early 5-0 lead after a tip-in from senior DeAaron Ward (Wilson, NC) and a three-pointer from Richardson, II. After a 10-9 scoring edge for the Panthers, VUU would tie the contest at 14-14 on a layup before taking its first lead of the contest on a free-throw with 12:46 left in the half.
Shaw scored six unanswered points in a 13-6 spurt before closing out the first half with a 40-31 frame on a three-pointer from Bell.
With its largest lead of the game, the Bears led by 14 points with 15:12 left. Over the next four minutes of action, the Panthers would close the gap after mapping a 20-8 run. The contest would tie five times over a span of nine minutes, Shaw had a 75-73 lead after two free-throws from Cassady but a layup from VUU provided the game with its last tie with 43 seconds remaining. The Bears had an opportunity to take the lead back but a missed layup with 22 seconds left led to a defensive rebound and a score down the stretch for the Panthers with three seconds left. VUU's defense would fend off the Bears chance of sending the game into overtime as Shaw succumbed in the two-point loss.
VUU was led by its top performer Ray Anderson who charted 15 points and a team-best seven assists, followed by Tavon Mealy with 14 points and John Mitchell with 12 points. Kory Cooley and Devin Moore both tallied 10 points each to round out the Panthers top performers.
Shaw will look to regroup when they return to action for a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) contest at Elizabeth City State University Tuesday, Dec. 13. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
For more information on Shaw men's basketball and its 11 varsity sports, visit www.shawbears.com.