CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the first time in eight years, the Shaw University men's basketball will make an appearance in the 2019 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men's Basketball Championship game as the Bears took down the defending champions of Virginia Union University, 70-58 Friday night in the semifinal game at the Spectrum Center.

Shaw (17-12) will face Virginia State Saturday, Mar. 2 at 4:30 p.m. inside the Spectrum Center.

The last time the Bears made it the championship was during the 2010-11 season in which they defeated Livingstone, 72-69.

Sophomore Alex Owens (Brandenton, FL) was named Food Lion's MVP after leading all scorers with 22 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks – marking his seventh double-double of the year. Junior DaVaughn Kelsie (Richmond, VA) added 12 points while junior Amir Hinton (Philadelphia, PA) tallied 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Junior Davon Dillard (Gary, IN) finished with 10 points, three rebounds and two assists to round out the double figure scoring for Shaw.

In the opening half, the Bears took a 14-6 lead over Virginia Union but the Panthers closed the gap to five (14-11) with a 9-3 run and during that run, the Bears went on a scoring drought for over the next three minutes until junior Derrick Randolph (Chicago, IL) hit a running layup at the 11:32 mark.

With a 3-point lead, Shaw put together a 20-15 scoring frame capped off by a five-straight to take a 36-26 lead at halftime.

A layup from Owens ignited a 17-point lead for the Bears to start the second half as Shaw went ahead 47-30 at the 16:17 mark. VUU cut Shaw's lead to single digits when Jordan Peebles scored a layup, followed by three more points for the Panthers that would bring them within 53-49 to the Bears.

An intense game from the start but more exciting down the stretch, the Panthers continued to fight against the Bears but ultimately was unable to grasp a lead as Shaw put the game away on a 7-2 spurt including a 3-pointer from Kelsie and free throw shooting.

The Bears finished the game shooting 44.8 percent (26-of-58) from the floor, 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from behind the arc, and 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the line, while holding Virginia Union to shooting 40.8 percent (20-of-49) from the field, 25 percent (4-of-16) from downtown, and 70 percent (14-of-20) from the charity stripe for the game.

Terrell Leach led the Panthers with 21 points, while Will Jenkins tallied 12 and Jordan Peebles added 10 in the effort.

The Bears outscored Union 40-to-28 points in the paint, 16-to-12 points off turnovers, and 14-to-3 in second chance points. Union outscored Shaw 17-to-10 in bench points.

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