RALEIGH, N.C. – The Shaw University men's basketball team relied on a rollicking second-half run and a tenacious defensive performance in the final seconds of the game to squeeze out a 55-52 win over rival Saint Augustine's University in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division contest inside the historic C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
The victory was the Bears (18-8, 10-4 CIAA) fourth straight and sixth division win on the year as they now stand 6-2 for second place. SAU (12-13, 9-5 CIAA) falls to 4-4 within the South for third.
Senior guard DeAngelo Stephens-Bell (Jacksonville, FL) was the only Bear who scored in double figures tonight; he rattled 21 points while senior forward Savon Goodman (Philadelphia, PA) grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and seven points.
Both teams shot under 40-percent but the Bears saw more action at the charity stripe, hitting 16-of-26 (62-percent) compared to the Falcons who went 9-of-15 times (60-percent). In addition, Shaw gained 15 points off SAU's 21 turnovers and tallied 28 of their 55 points in the paint.
After four ties and five lead changes in a first half that went tick-for-tack, the Falcons gathered 10 unanswered points beginning at the 6:28 mark to lead 27-19 over Shaw. A jumper by Stephens-Bell snapped the scoring drought for the Bears but Shaw went into the locker room with a 27-21 deficit at the break.
In a grinder second half, the Bears came back from a nine-point deficit and ended up tying the game at 46-46 on a jumper from senior guard Khaliq Williams (Jacksonville, FL) and a layup from Stephens-Bell. SAU responded with a lay-in of their own but a clutch 3-pointer from Stephens-Bell gave the Bears a 49-48 edge with 3:27 remaining in the contest.
Stephens-Bell wasn't done yet, he added two more to push Shaw ahead 51-48 but the Falcons hit a jumper to close the gap to one. After two free-throws from senior guard Cameron Golden, Sr. (Memphis, TN), SAU continued to stay close thanks to lay-in from Rashad George with 1:10 left to play.
Over a series of possessions and four missed freebies from the Bears, Shaw turned up their defensive intensity to cause a Falcons turnover that would put Williams at the line for two with eight seconds on the game clock. He would sink them both, giving the Bears a 55-52 cushion as SAU's opportunity to make a play resulted in a turnover and a steal for Golden, Sr.
SAU's offense was led by Ishmael Baldwin who finished with 14 points while Quincy January chipped in 12 rebounds and nine points.
The Bears will return to action Wednesday, Feb. 21 with a home contest versus Fayetteville State for Senior Night at 8 p.m. in Spaulding.
For the most up-to-date information, Shaw basketball and its 13 varsity sport teams, visit shawbears.com.