Bears bounce back

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 19, 2014

SALISBURY — Livingstone’s Eric Dubose pulled up for a 17-foot jumper in the face of Shaw’s Derrick Hunter, and Hunter shook his head in amazement as the ball swished through the cords.
There was nothing wrong with Livingstone that New Trent Gym couldn’t cure. After a head-shaking 0-3 road trip, the Blue Bears came home and drilled Shaw 76-53 on Saturday night. There aren’t many routine victories in the CIAA, but this one qualified.
“There’s nothing like home,” LC guard Robert Flint said. “This win got us back on our feet.”
Mark Thomas led the way with 19 points. Cristian Henry had 10 points and nine boards.
LC (11-5, 4-3) was coming off one of those Thursday-Saturday-Monday CIAA road trips that saw the Blue Bears unexpectedly lose at Elizabeth City State, Virginia State and Chowan.
“We ran into very well-prepared teams,” LC coach James Stinson said. “And we also got away from our one-at-a-time philosophy. It was like we were trying to win three games in one night. It was a lesson-learner. There’s no one in this league we can take for granted.”
The Blue Bears shouldered responsibility for the disappointing road trip.
“Those losses are mostly on us,” Thomas said. “We beat ourselves, but tonight we got it back together.”
Shaw (6-11, 4-3) has been without high-scoring guard Curtis Hines recently. Shaw got 14 points each from Andre Paulk and Larry Richardson, but it wasn’t enough.
Livingstone’s depth is its biggest strength, and the Blue Bears actually took control of the game with high-scoring guards Thomas and Jody Hill resting in the middle of the first half.
Livingstone carved out a nice lead when Dubose made a 3-pointer, and Anthony Welch tipped a rebound to Henry for a reverse jam that energized the crowd. Then Dubose fed Henry for another acrobatic slam.
When Thomas knocked down a 3-pointer and Cornelius Johnson made a layup at the buzzer, Livingstone owned a 35-22 halftime lead.
Hill was scoreless in the first half, but he threw down a breakaway dunk and dropped in a long 3-pointer as he tumbled into the bleachers to help Livingstone stretch its lead early in the second half.
Livingstone led by 21 with 12 minutes left, and Shaw never got closer than 15.
Livingstone didn’t shoot well — 38.5 percent and 6-for-20 on 3s — but it ruled the boards 49-37 and made only five turnovers.
“Taking care of the basketball is a big part of what we do,” Thomas said. “We’ve got good guards.”
Thomas is the primary decision-maker and had zero turnovers in 27 minutes. Flint, his backup, played 13 error-free minutes.
“My job when I come in is to make sure the team keeps its composure,” Flint said. “We’ve got a good bench, guys who could start for a lot of teams. Everyone contributed tonight.”
SHAW (53) — Paulk 14, Richardson 14, Younger 9, Reid 6, Hunter 5, Legree 2, Smith 2, Reed 1.
LIVINGSTONE (76) — Thomas 19, Henry 10, Hill 9, Mayo 8, A. Welch 6, Dubose 5, C. Johnson 5, D. Johnson 5, Bailey 4, D. Welch 3, Okam 2, Flint, M. Johnson.
Shaw 22 31 — 53
Livingstone 35 41 — 76