Livingstone men fall short in OT

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

By Nick Bowton

Salisbury Post

Livingstone couldn’t make a last-second shot to win the game in regulation. It couldn’t make one to force a second overtime, either.

The Blue Bears followed a lackadaiscal first half with a second half full of hustle Thursday night, but they lost to St. Augustine’s 76-73 in a game that ended up being about as back and forth as you can get.

Livingstone (2-8, 0-5 CIAA) trailed 36-27 at halftime, but after it started the second half on a 7-0 run, neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way. Livingstone Brent Cowles missed a rushed 3-pointer from the right corner with a second left in overtime.

“It was a fun game to play in,” said Ivan Jackson, who scored a team-high 14 points off the bench for the Blue Bears. “We just wish we could have came out on top. Every game we pretty much put one half together. We have to concentrate on putting two halves together now.”

That’d be nice, because the Blue Bears might have gotten their first conference victory if they’d played the entire game the way they did the second half.

In the first half, Livingstone couldn’t penetrate the St. Aug’s zone or make a jump shot. The Blue Bears looked less athletic and less interested than the Falcons (8-4, 4-2).

Second half? Complete opposite.

The Blue Bears attacked the basket with energy, shot 6-of-11 from 3-point range and got back in the game in the first few minutes.

“Coach just challenged us, all of us,” Jackson said. “He challenged us mentally and also physically to come out there and stop playing so nonchalant and start getting after it.”

Once the Blue Bears did, they turned the game into a good one.

Midway through the second half, Stephen Butler scored back-to-back baskets inside to give Livingstone a 43-42 lead. Claude Neeley answered with a 3-pointer for the Falcons.

Jackson then made one of his four 3s, and Livingstone had the lead again, 46-45. St. Aug’s answered quickly with a basket by Nicholas King (20 points, eight rebounds).

In all, the lead changed hands eight times in the second half. All of those occasions came in an eight-minute span midway through the half, and there were seven ties in the final seven minutes.

The final tie came when Livingstone guard Wayne White made a floater from the right baseline with 47 seconds remaining. That shot tied it at 66-all, and no one scored again in regulation.

The Blue Bears had a chance when they got the ball back with 34 seconds left and held for the final shot. Jackson couldn’t score on a drive to the basket, and Livingstone couldn’t convert a tip-in either.

The Blue Bears led 67-66 in overtime when Cowles made a free throw, but they never regained the lead after the Falcons went ahead 68-67.

“We put ourselves in this position,” Livingstone coach James Stinson said. “We really did, the way we played the first half. If we would have came out the first half like we did the second half, it would have been a much different ballgame.”

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NOTES: Livingstone had a huge disadvantage at the free-throw line, where St. Aug’s went 33-of-37 and the Blue Bears went 13-of-20. … Antonio Fitzgerald scored a game-high 25 points for the Falcons.

St. Aug’s (76) — Fitzgerald 25, King 20, Shuler 10, Neeley 9, Green 5, Sullivan 4, Jones 3, Dixon, Underwood, Gervais, Sumpter.

LIVINGSTONE (73) — Jackson 14, Butler 12, Cowles 10, Gunning 9, Duncan 8, Worley 8, Lewis 4, White 4, Bussie 2, Satterthwaite 2, Johnson, Thompson.

St. Aug’s 36 30 10 — 76

Livingstone 27 39 7 — 73

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Contact Nick Bowton at 704-797-4256 or nbowton@salisburypost.com.

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