By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer

Senior day at Bowie State marked not only the end to a remarkable era in the school’s basketball history, it was a chance to try and make the road a smoother run towards playing in the championship rounds of the CIAA Tournament.  However, the celebration was tempered by the women blowing their chance to earn the number-two seed and the men ending their season with a loss to the last place team in the north division.

BSU’s men played without their primary interior post presence Kani Coles, who missed the game while in the final stage of his concussion protocol.  That Coles would be ready for the the start of the tournament was no consolation for the Bulldogs, who lost 72-64, to a Lions team playing without head coach Doug Overton, who had been placed on administrative leave.

BSU students Kyaja Williams and Saiquan Jamison made the all-conference CIAA teams in womens and mens basketball respectively. (Courtesy Photos)

Seniors David Belle, Saiquan Jamison, Yohance Fleming and Cameron Hayes capped their careers after winning at least 20 games each year after winning the CIAA championship in 2017.  However, the final time they wore the Bulldogs colors will be a game they would love to forget.

“This was a tough loss,” said Bowie State Head Coach Darrell Brooks. “We missed 44 shots, missed 16 free throws and missed 20 threes. At some point we just have to make shots.” 

Jamison led the Bulldogs with 19 points and 10 rebounds and was the only player named to the CIAA’s all-conference team.   Belle added 14 points while Hayes finished with 10. Fleming had a career-high 13 rebounds to lead all players. Despite the totals, BSU was thoroughly outplayed.

The Lions led the entire game after quickly opening a nine-point lead and increasing it to 18 late in the first half. Bernard Lightsey led all scorers with 24 points, while reserve Keynante Williams came off the bench to score 13.  Zahrion Blue had a team-high ten rebounds just missing a double-double with nine points for a team that won for only the ninth time in 28 games.

“Some days you’re the dog, other days you’re the tree,” Brooks said.

After entering the season as the preseason favorite for the CIAA title, BSU ended the season losing three of their last four. They earned the number-three seed by finishing 16-12 with an 8-7 record in the conference play and a 4-4 mark in the north division. It set up a dangerous first round matchup with Livingstone to open the tournament.

Women Win Game But Lose Higher Tourney Seed

BSU women’s held off a late comeback against the Lions for a f60-56 victory with their senior class leading the way. Kyaja Williams  led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds, while fellow senior Shawnkia McCallum added 18. Dynaisha Christian ended her career by finishing with a double-double scoring 11 points with 14 rebounds. 

Williams was named CIAA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, while also earning a place on the all-conference first team.

BSU ended the regular season 22-4 (12-3 CIAA) while Lincoln finished 23-5 (12-3 CIAA).  However, had they won by at least five points, they would’ve secured the number-two seed from the north based on head-to-head point differential.  However, a late run by the Lions almost erased a 12-point deficit. The four-point margin was enough to force the point differential component of the tiebreaker, a coin toss, since each team won on their home floor by difference.

After winning the toss, Lincoln (PA) earned the number-two seed in the North ahead of BSU, who fell to the number-three seed despite identical 12-3 records in conference play.