By Gregory Goings
BSU Sports Information Director
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Virginia State built a big lead with its suffocating defense, then held off a late Bowie State rally to win 81-70 in the CIAA Tournament men's semifinals at Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday (2/26) evening. With the loss, the Bulldogs season comes to an end with a record of 17-13.
Sophomore guard Ahmaad Wilson (Baltimore, Md.) scored a team-high 17 points for the Bulldogs, who had four players score in double figures. Junior forward Enuoma Ebinum (Greenbelt, Md.) added 14 points, senior guard Justin Beck (Ellicott City, Md.) chipped in 13 points and senior Andre Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) had 12. Senior Miles Jackson pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
"We were able to pressure them and started driving the ball," Bulldogs' Head Coach Darrell Brooks said. "We really wanted to drive the basketball most of the game. We felt if we could attack them, we could have some success offensively. Unfortunately, we didn't do that for 40 minutes."
Forward Elijah Moore scored 18 points and guard Kevin Williams added 17 points for the Trojans (22-5 overall), who held the Bulldogs to 36.1 percent shooting. The Trojans entered the contest ranked ninth nationally in Division II in field-goal percentage defense.
The Trojans relied on its defense to take a commanding lead. A 19-8 run erased a one-point deficit and put the Trojans ahead 34-24 at halftime. They extended the score to 49-33 in the second half when guard-forward Cyonte Melvin canned a three-pointer.
The Bulldogs, the No. 3 Northern Division seed, threatened late in the contest. Down 72-56 with 2:48 remaining, they outscored the Trojans 12-4 to close within 74-66 on forward Andre Jackson's three-pointer with 1:31 remaining.
The Trojans fended off the Bulldogs with key stops and timely free throw shooting. Moore and guard Tyler Peterson, who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, both made 3 of 4 free throw attempts down the stretch to preserve the win.