Livingstone defeat Rams on last-second shot

Published 8:33 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

Staff report

WINSTON-SALEM — Livingstone senior guard Ty Newman’s short jumper off the glass lifted the Blue Bears over Winston-Salem State, 71-69, here Saturday afternoon in CIAA basketball action at the Gaines Center.

Newman’s score capped a heroic 16-3 run by the Blue Bears in the game’s final five minutes, as they trailed, 66-55.

The Rams’ CJ Ford had just sank a free throw to tie the game with 13 seconds left. Then Newman took his time, but dribbled up the court, lost his defender with a quick move to his left at the top of the key and banked in an eight-footer with 0.6 seconds on the clock.

“We entrusted Ty with the basketball, even though he had just made two straight charging fouls,” said Livingstone coach James Stinson. “You have to believe in your seniors. So we spread the floor and let him make the decision on whether to shoot or pass — and he made a difficult but great shot.”

The victory moves the Blue Bears to 12-16 overall and 7-9 in the CIAA. WSSU is 11-16 overall and 5-11 in the league.

Pairings for the CIAA Tournament in Charlotte were announced late Saturday night by the league office, with play scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Livingstone, the two-time defending CIAA champions, is the No. 4 seed in the conference’s Southern Division with a 4-6 mark. The Blue Bears play on Wednesday at 8:50 p.m., against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Lincoln (No. 5, North) and Winston-Salem State (No. 6, South).

“This was a fortunate win,” said Stinson. “It should put us in a good frame of mind, going into the tournament next week.”

On Saturday, the Blue Bears used a strong 46-point effort in the second half to beat the Rams, after trailing by nine points at halftime, 34-25.

WSSU led by 11 points at 47-36 with 14:35 left in the game. The Blue Bears then went on an 11-2 run, behind Newman, Jimmy Wilson and Ramel Belfield, but were still down two points at 49-47.

The Rams stretched their lead back out to 10 points at 58-48, on the shooting of Terrell Leach, who drained a 3-pointer with 8:17 left to be played.

WSSU seemed to have things under complete control with another 11-point lead (66-55), but Livingstone refused to give up. With 5:10 left, Newman made two free throws to begin the Blue Bears’ game-saving 16-3 run.

Newman had a tip-in, Belfield a layup, Juwan Cole a big 4-point play and all of a sudden, the Rams were clinging to a 67-65 lead at the 3:25-mark.
After a missed shot, WSSU fouled Livingstone’s KJ Langley, who made both foul tosses to tie the game at 2:46.

Keith Armstrong gave the Rams a one-point lead when he made a foul shot, but then Belfield’s jumper gave the Blue Bears the lead at 69-68, with 2:02 left.

The teams traded missed shots and turnovers before Ford’s made his free throw to knot the score again. Newman came through with his game-winning shot.

“The guys just didn’t give up,” added Stinson. “The big thing was that we were playing some younger people and they did a decent job of executing at the end of the game. They stayed the course, got some stops and rebounded the ball.”

The Blue Bears shot only 37 percent (23-of-62) for the game but may have won the game at the foul line, sinking 21 of 27 (78 percent).

Livingstone had an advantage with points off the bench, 28-18, led by Newman, who didn’t start but led the team with 14. Nasir Austin followed with 13 points and Cole and Cordero Holt added nine points each.

Austin also led the Blue Bears with eight rebounds.

Offensively, WSSU was led by Demone Harrison’s 26 points. Leach followed with 11 and Armstrong added 10.

As far as the Blue Bears winning the tournament for the third straight year, Stinson said anything is possible.

“We have players who have played in that atmosphere and on that court and we’re hoping that their maturity will affect the entire team,” said Stinson. “We’ve played every team in the CIAA decently and lost a lot games by single digits. It’s a matter of us executing and everyone doing just their jobs instead of trying to do too much.”

LIVINGSTONE (71) — Belfield 7, Austin 13, Holt 9, Dubose 5, Cole 9, Newman 14, Harris 3, Ayscue, Wilson 8, Gray, Lowe, Langley 3.

WINSTON-SALEM STATE (69) —Wilson 5, Harrison 26, Armstrong 10, Harris 2, Ford 8, Simmons, McAllister 2, Rankins, Crandell 2, Story 3, Leach 11.

Livingstone                            25    46  — 71

Winston-Salem St.               34    35  — 69