CIAA Semifinals: Livingstone 81, Fayetteville State 71, OT
By Ricky Rogers
CHARLOTTE ó How íbout those Livingstone Blue Bears!
The Livingstone menís basketball team has advanced to its first-ever CIAA Basketball Championship after defeating the Fayetteville State University Broncos 81-71 in overtime at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Blue Bears will play in the first menís CIAA Championship in school history tonight at 8 p.m. against the Shaw University Bears.
Livingstone is 1-1 against Shaw this season with each team winning on its home court.
Livingstone was led by senior Darius Cox who finished with a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Greg Henry scored 16 points and grabbed nine boards while Quintin Redfern scored 13 points.
Also in double figures were Trone Jackson and Tyler Johnson with 11 points each.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle. Livingstone jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and never relinquished the lead in the first half. Fayetteville State trailed by four with 44 seconds left, but scored the last three points of the half including a buzzer-beating jumper to get within 37-36 at the break.
In the second half Fayetteville scored the first two points and then continued to lead by only as much as six for the majority of the second stanza. Livingstone tied the game at 51-51 with 8:50 to play, but the Broncos again took the lead back. The Blue Bears led for the first time in the second half with 3:23 to play after two free throws by Cox.
The Blue Bears increased their lead to 59-54 with 2:10 to play, but Livingstone then didnít score for the remainder of regulation. Fayetteville State had chances in the final minute to take the lead, but free throws also plagued them. The Broncos tied the game at the free throw line with two seconds left and a last-second heave by Trone Jackson hit the front of the rim and the game headed to overtime tied 59-59.
The early goings of overtime was all Livingstone. Greg Henry started it off with a layup and foul only 21 seconds in and converted the three-point play. Fayetteville State got within 62-61, but then the Blue Bears went on a 9-0 run to open up a 71-61 lead with 1:48 to play. Over the final two minutes the Broncos continued to foul, but Livingstone converted enough free-throw attempts to seal the victory.
The Blue Bears shot 34.3 percent from the field, but struggled from three-point range, hitting only 1-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc. Free-throw shooting again plagued the Blue Bears as they went to the charity stripe 52 times, converting only 32 of the attempts.