• 55°

Blue Bear men can't hold lead

By David Shaw

Salisbury Post

Halfway through Thursday night’s men’s basketball game at Trent Gym, Livingstone had first-place Virginia State scratching its head.

The Blue Bears had crawled out of an early 17-2 hole and jogged to their dressing room with a three-point halftime lead.

“We were doing a lot of things right — pressuring them and working on getting good shots,” senior Brent Cowles said. “Our confidence level was there.”

An hour later, after VSU used a strong finishing kick to beat them 66-57, they were scratching their own heads.

“A game like this leaves you wondering,” coach James Stinson said after the Blue Bears (4-11, 2-8 CIAA) suffered their third loss in four games. “It makes you start to second-guess yourself.”

The woulda-coulda-shoulda defense didn’t work for most LC players. They held a 55-52 lead after guard Michael Duncan drove for a high-arcing layup off the glass with 3:44 remaining but were outscored 14-2 the rest of the way.

“Our coaches put us in position to win,” junior forward Ivan Jackson said after netting 14 points. “(Virginia State) just made plays down the stretch — and we didn’t.”

Winning coach Anthony Collins had nothing but praise for Livingstone after the Trojans 14-3, 9-1) gained their fourth straight win.

“They played well enough to beat us tonight,” he said. “They did not quit after falling behind 17-2, which is easy to do. Instead they hung in there and fought us right to the end.”

This fight had all the earmarks of a first-round knockout after VSU hit seven of its first 10 shots while the Blue Bears went 1-for-10 in the opening 7:21. But Jackson’s major-league dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers by Cowles and Tony Futrell capped a 19-5 spurt and drew LC within 22-21.

“It was the guys off the bench,” said Duncan, a starter who had seven turnovers. “They sparked us and brought us back. They made it a tough game.”

VSU’s last field goal of the first half came with 4:16 on the clock. Livingstone took its first lead when Cowles drained a

3-ball from the left side with 1:06 to go. And when Jackson hit a pair free throws — awarded when Collins was called for a technical foul — the hosts had a 31-28 halftime lead.

“We knew we had to keep playing aggressively,” Jackson said. “Honestly, they may be a first-place team, but we feel we’re a really good team that keeps coming up just short.”

The lead changed hands for the eighth and final time when VSU’s Jamar Fleming hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:26 remaining. The guests converted seven of eight free throws in the closing seconds to secure the outcome.

“We’ve just got to keep working,” Stinson said. “Our lack of execution toward the end of the game is what hurt us. We had chances but we squandered possessions. You can’t be competitive if you do that.”


NOTES: VSU’s Avis Wyatt, a 6-foot-11 senior projected as a second-round NBA draft pick, had eight points and eight rebounds.

VIRGINIA STATE (66) — Fleming 16, Askew 14, Mines 9, Wyatt 8, Raymond 8, Henderson 7, Torres 4.

LIVINGSTONE (57) — Cowles 16, Jackson 14, Bussie 7, Futrell 5, Duncan 4, Butler 4, Lewis 4, Worley 2, White 1, Satterthwaite, Jacobs.

Va. State 28 38 — 66

Livingstone 31 26 — 57


Comments closed.


Political Notebook: Despite Cooper’s veto, majority of likely voters support school reopening bill, poll finds


COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic


Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call


Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures


Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being found passed out in vehicle

Ask Us

Ask Us: What programs exist for litter cleanup?


County begins accepting restaurant grant applications


Blotter: Salisbury man charged with nine more felony sex offenses


Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief


Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings


Cuomo sorry for remarks aide ‘misinterpreted’ as harassment


Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss


Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators


Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police


Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies


After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status


39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual


Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership


Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education


After surviving COVID-19 scare, Lois Willard set to celebrate 100th birthday

High School

Carson rolls over South 41-0 as about 600 allowed in to see season opener for both


East Spencer after-school program looks toward opening, nonprofit status


Frank Ramsey inducted into the NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame


Livingstone’s Stoutamire inducted into 2021 CIAA Hall of Fame