The Shaw University Bears men’s basketball team advanced to the CIAA Finals after an 82-69 victory against the Johnson C. Smith University Golden Bulls (JCSU) on March 4 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
Shaw advanced to the CIAA championship by doing what it always does against JCSU: score points.
Shaw was victorious over Johnson C. Smith twice during the regular season, winning by scores of 86-77 and 76-70. J.C. Smith failed to score 70 or more points against the Bears for the first time in the last three meetings.
“This was a great game for the Bears,” Shaw coach Cleo Hill, Jr. said. “We wanted to come out defensively and set a tone early. Once we did that, we felt that getting out in transition would be a big key. They played a very inspired game last night against Bowie State and it was very late. We thought that they expended a lot of energy so we wanted to pressure defensively and get out in transition as much as we could. We did that for stretches.”
JCSU Sophomore guard and reigning CIAA Player of the Year Trevin Parks, forward Antwan Wilkerson and and senior forward Earl Jackson (a Temple Hills, Md. native) all shot a respectable 45 percent or better, but couldn’t stop Shaw’s offensive attack.
Shaw scored 27 of their 36 field goals on layups or close shots. Twenty-one of their points were the result of 14 JCSU turnovers, which led to a 60-28 advantage in paint points.
JCSU concluded the year at 17-11 overall.
Shaw (21-8 overall), the No. 2 seed in the CIAA Southern Division, will attempt to win its second CIAA crown in school history March 5 at 8 p.m. against Livingstone College. Livingstone defeated Fayetteville State (FSU), 81-71, in the other CIAA semifinal game on March 4.
Livingstone, led by senior Darius Cox, who scored 21 points in the win over FSU, will play in the CIAA title game for the first time in school history. Livingston and Shaw split their regular season series matchup, 1-1.