CIAA Basketball: Livingstone 81, St. Augustine's 64
By David Shaw
SALISBURY — There was no way St. Augustine’s was going to crash Livingstone’s Senior Night party Saturday at Trent Gym.
Not if Greg Henry and a couple junior widebodies had anything to say about it — and they had plenty to say in the Blue Bears’ 81-64 victory.
“After all the close ones we’ve lost this year, I think we really needed this,” Henry said after Livingstone (8-15, 4-10 CIAA) won its second conference game of the week. “It’s our time to come together. I think we’re going to peak during the tournament.”
Henry contributed 11 points and six assists as LC finally played the patient, Princeton-style game coach James Stinson has been waiting for. The Blue Bears were composed throughout — a far cry from the heedless, hide-the-women-and-children basketball that characterized the early portion of their schedule.
“We’ve had some discussions with individuals toward the end of the year,” Stinson said. “We challenged people as to what their roles were and what they were capable of doing. And Greg was one who accepted it and decided to pull it all together.”
Another is Trone Jackson, the senior guard who had five assists. “We finally figured out that if we get it to our big boys, we’re better off,” he said.
The big boys in question were juniors Nasir Austin (14 points, 5 blocks) and Ethan Anderson, a 6-foot-9 roadblock who hit four consecutive layups and scored nine points in a pivotal five-minute span of the second half.
“His feel around the basket makes it easy for the guards,” teammate Quintin Redfern said of Anderson. “He’s such a big target. He finds open spots and he can drive.”
Austin, a 6-6 high-rise, gave St. Aug’s (13-11, 8-6) a dose of CIAA tough love. He shot 6-for-9 from the field and made three key buckets from inside the paint early the second half.
The visiting Falcons converted only eight of 33 field goal attempts in the first half before trimming a nine-point deficit to 35-33 with 13:54 to play.
“They did a lot of things right and we didn’t,” said SA coach Ken Spencer. “We could hit anything in the first half. But with all of that, we were still in the game.”
They were until Anderson scored on a turnaround layup, Redfern showed a nice touch on a floater from the right baseline and Tyler Johnson sank a pair of free throws, lifting LC to a 57-38 lead with 7:12 remaining.
Moments later Austin took a bounce pass from Henry and delivered a knock-out punch — not with a slam but a routine layup. The post-game stat sheet indicated the Blue Bears outscored St. Aug’s 38-18 in the paint.
“I know because I was the one getting them the ball,” Henry said with a relaxed smile after Livingstone attempted only 45 shots. “We’ve gotta get it inside. We don’t need to be taking a lot of jump shots. No one in the CI can hold those two once they get going. It’s almost like less is better for us.”
St. Aug’s was paced by forward Jon Kindred, who shot 9-for-17 from the field and matched his career-high with 21 points. “Livingstone played under control,” he said. “In the CIAA your record doesn’t even matter. They’re the best 3-10 team we’ve seen in a long while.”
NOTES: LC shot 55.6 percent from the floor. It closes the regular season with games at Fayetteville State on Monday and at J.C. Smith on Feb. 25. The conference tournament is slated Feb. 28-March 3 in Charlotte.
SAINT AUGUSTINE’S (64) — Jon Kindred 21, Laughinghouse 9, Joel Kindred 8, Rhodes 8, Jones 6, Banks 3, Stroman 3, Johnson 2, Brown 2, Freeman 2.
LIVINGSTONE (81) — Austin 14, Henry 11, Redfern 11, Anderson 9, Johnson 8, M.Thomas 8, Sellers 6, Jackson 6, D.Thomas 5, Ford-Bey 3, Paul, Adams, Woodberry, Okam.
St. Aug’s 19 45 — 64
Livingstone 28 53 — 81