Written by Antoine Lynch, Athletics Media Specialist
RICHMOND, Va. – The Shaw University men's basketball team saw a second half double digit lead slip away as the Bears also shot 51-percent from the floor including 57-percent from three but fell to Virginia Union University, 99-97 Saturday afternoon inside Barco-Stevens Hall.
With the loss, Shaw falls to 4-8 overall, 1-5 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). VUU improves to 9-4 on the season and 3-0 in the CIAA.
It was clear that both teams opened the contest with the look of coming off long breaks. Almost four minutes into the half senior guard DaVaughn Kelsie (Richmond, VA) tied the contest at 3-3 at the 16:07 mark. Kelsie scored again inside as both teams finally fell into a groove to put Shaw ahead 13-9 with 12:58 left in the half. The four-point lead would not last long for Shaw as VUU's full court press forced the Bears into turnovers which led to a few easy baskets for the Panthers who lead by as many as 17 points at 32-15 with 5:42 left in the half.
The Bears would not go down without a fight as the senior guard tandem of Greyson Kelley (Raleigh, NC) and Imani Miller (Knoxville, TN) brought the Bears back within seven at 34-27 after Miller connected from outside with a pass from Kelley. Sophomore forward Andrew Freeman (Durham, NC) made things interesting adding another three-point basket to trim the Panther lead to 36-32 with under two minutes left in the half.
The hot shooting continued for the Bears as freshman guard Marvis Odia, II (Houston, TX) put Shaw back on top 40-38 before VUU's Terrell Leach connected as the buzzer from inside of half court to push VUU ahead 41-40 at the break. The Bears finished the half at 46-percent shooting from the floor including an impressive 46-percent from beyond the arc.
Using a 12-8 scoring frame, the Bears regained the lead. Playing in his hometown and feeling the hot hand, Kelsie then added a three with 15:22 left of the second half, forcing the Panthers to burn a timeout with Shaw now leading 58-54.
Over the next 11 minutes, Shaw grew a 90-77 lead with 4:07 left but the Bears saw its double-digit lead slip away as full court pressure from the Panthers again caused problems for Shaw. With a 93-89 lead in favor of Shaw, VUU pulled ahead 94-93 on a three-point play with under a minute left.
The following possession, Kelley collected an offensive rebound and was fouled, sending him to the line where he connected on both to put Shaw ahead 95-94 with 35 seconds left. Leach then added a short jumper in the lane with 16 seconds left putting the Panthers ahead 96-95. After a Shaw timeout, Kelly added a jumper from the left corner to put Shaw back ahead 97-96. However, on the ensuing possession, Leach answered again with a three with 0.4 left which ultimately secured the win over Shaw.
Kelley led the Bears with 26 points while freshman guard Nigel Martin (Cleveland, OH) and Kelsie followed with 22 and 21 points, respectively. Odia added a career-high 11 points in a reserve role while Freeman chipped in a career-high 10 points off the bench. Defensively, Martin collected a team-high nine rebounds.
The Bears will look to shake off the loss quickly as they return to action Monday, Jan. 6 as Shaw hosts Claflin University in a CIAA Southern Division matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. inside of historic C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium.
For the most up-to-date information on Shaw athletics and its 13 varsity sport teams, please visit www.shawbears.com.