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Virginia Union tops Livingstone men, 88-81

Staff report

SALISBURY — Livingstone put on furious rally in the final seven minutes here Saturday evening at New Trent Gym but still came up short.

The Blue Bears fell to Virginia Union, 88-81, in their CIAA opener but made things exciting at the end.

Down by 22 points at the 11:44-mark and by 18 (76-58) with 7:02 remaining, Livingstone (1-4 overall, 0-1 CIAA) then outscored its visitors, 23-12, from there.

Roger Ray and Ramel Belfield led the Blue Bears’ late charge and after a layup from Samuel McClendon and a 3-pointer from Cameron Burhannon, Livingstone was within 87-81 with 12 seconds left. The Blue Bears could get no closer as James Paige hit a foul shot for the Panthers’ final margin.

The first half was close and back-and-forth until a 3-pointer by VUU’s Kori Cooley put the Panthers up, 30-21, at the 7:17-mark. The Panthers went on to lead at halftime, 47-30.

VUU (6-6, 2-0) shot 52 percent for the game (28-of-54) and made 23-of-29 free throws. Livingstone shot 88.5 percent from the foul line (23-of-26) but only 42 percent from the field (26-of-62).

Ray led Livingstone with 22 points, followed by 13 from Belfield and 11 from Burhannon.

The Panthers were led by Micah Thomas’ 17 points, 16 from Cooley and 14 from Jordan Peebles.

Livingstone returns to action on Monday at 7:30 p.m., hosting Lincoln University in another CIAA contest.

VIRGINIA UNION (88) — Paige 11, Cooley 16, Hoosier 3, Thornton 2, Hughes 6, M. Thomas 17, D. Thomas, Peebles 14, Jenkins 7, Walker 4, Moore 8.

LIVINGSTONE (81) — Burhannon 11, Ray 22, Lewis 2, Livingston 2, N. Elmore 9, McClendon 6, Moore 4, Belfield 13, Walker, L. Elmore 4, McNeill 4, Smith 2, Patterson 2, Stallworth.

Virginia Union   47    41  — 88

Livingstone         30    51 — 81

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