CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the first time in three seasons, the Shaw University men's basketball team was able to capture a victory at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men's Basketball Tournament and move on to the semifinals as the Bears rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half to defeat rival Saint Augustine's University, 62-55 in the quarterfinal round at the Bojangles Coliseum Wednesday night.
The tournament victory is the first for head coach Joel Hopkins since he returned to the helm of the Bears basketball program and the first tournament win for the Bears since 2015. Additionally, Shaw will make its first appearance in the tournament semifinals since 2012.
With the win, Shaw advances to Friday's semifinal round at the Spectrum Center while Saint Augustine's concludes its season 11-15 overall.
Junior Amir Hinton (Philadelphia, PA) led all scorers with 26 points after tallying just five points in the first half. Sophomore Alex Owens (Brandenton, FL) recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
The first half was back and forth for both teams as the lead changed five time over the first 10 minutes. 3-point shooting for the Falcons led to an 11-9 lead before freshman Geremy Taylor (Pompano Beach, FL) tied the game up at 11-even. With 6:38 left in the opening half, SAU groomed a four-point stand before the Bears got an offensive spark from junior Greyson Kelley (Raleigh, NC) who hit a layup to notch the contest but the Falcons created space after going on a 12-4 run to take a 30-22 charge. The half's last possession would feature a buzzer beater from Randolph as the ball bounced off the rim and back through the net to give Shaw some momentum at the break despite a 30-25 deficit.
A jumper from Tyre Gathright gave SAU a 41-32 cushion with 13:36 left in the contest. Over the next five minutes, the Falcons oscillated between six to eight point lead over Shaw until the Bears relentless effort started a comeback ignited by consecutive baskets from reserved freshman Darius Hicks (Coconut Grove, FL) and buckets from Hinton cut the Falcons lead to half (46-42).
As a result of the rally, Shaw was able to maneuver a 12-6 spurt fueled by two 3-point plays by Hinton in over a one minute span. A layup from Hinton a 3:50 mark tied the game at 52-52 and then junior Derrick Randolph (Chicago, IL) followed up with a gut check layup that provided the Bears with its first lead since the first half.
SAU closed within one point twice before the Bears put the game away with six straight free throws in the final minute.
Gathright finished with 23 points and seven rebounds to lead the Falcons while Jalen Gaddy added 15 points and five rebounds.
For the most up-to-date information on Shaw men's basketball and its 13 varsity sport teams, visit shawbears.com.