Strong second half propels Livingstone past Broncos

Published 11:17 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Staff report

SALISBURY — Livingstone shot 63 percent from the floor in the second half, turning a close game into a relaxing, 78-57 victory over Fayetteville State, last night at New Trent Gym.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for coach James Stinson’s Blue Bears, now 5-11 overall and 2-4 in the CIAA. Fayetteville State falls to 7-9 and 3-5.

Livingstone nursed a 32-26 lead into the halftime locker room after shooting just 39 percent in the first 20 minutes, including a dismal 1-for-8 on 3-point field goal attempts.

However, the Blue Bears came out smokin’ hot in the second half, making 17-of-27 total baskets and 10-of-11 at the free throw line (91 percent). Livingstone outscored FSU, 46-31, in the second half.

A 14-5 run to start the second half essentially broke the game open. A 3-pointer from guard Ramel Belfield gave the Blue Bears a 46-31 lead with 16:25 left and they really never looked back.

Livingstone’s biggest lead (25 points) came at 72-47, with 2:20 remaining.

Livingstone also won the rebound battle, 38-25, and committed just 12 turnovers, an improvement, after 17 miscues in Monday’s 81-80 loss to Morehouse.

The Blue Bears also improved their free throw shooting with a 15-for-20 (75 percent) performance. Against Morehouse, Livingstone was 9-for-19 (47 percent) at the line.

Post player David Duncan had a double-double Livingstone, leading his team in points (14) and rebounds (11).  Belfield and forward Emarri Bailey followed with 12 points each and point guard Samuel McClendon added 10.

Belfield had a perfect shooting night, connecting on all four shots from the field (two 3-pointers) and going 2-for-2 at the foul line. Bailey was 5-for-7 from the floor.

Michael Tyson and Josh Bryant led Fayetteville State with 15 points each. Willie Gilmore followed with 13 points. Those three players were a combined 16-for-21 from the floor, but didn’t get a lot of help from their teammates (a combined 4-for-26).

Livingstone returns to action on Saturday, hosting J.C. Smith in another CIAA contest. Game time is 4 p.m.

FAYETTEVILLE STATE (57) — Bryant 15, Tyson 15, Gilmore 13, Vinson 9, McCray 3, Dawson 2, McNeill, Raynor, Robinson, Moore, Tibbs, Lee, Brewington.

LIVINGSTONE (78) — Duncan 14, Belfield 12, Bailey 12, McClendon 10, Wilson 9, Ray 7, Bond, Lundy, Dortch-Jones 2, Livingston 2, Stinson 2, Burhannon, Bultus, Lowe, Clowney, Jinad.

Fayetteville State      26    31 — 57

Livingstone                32    46 — 78