Bowie raps N.C. Central, reaches its 1st CIAA final

Big men are difference for Bulldogs in 99-87 win

College Basketball

March 01, 2003|By James Giza | James Giza,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

RALEIGH, N.C. - Just before tip-off of last night's game against North Carolina Central, the Bowie State men's basketball team and cheerleaders huddled together and swayed back and forth as their pep band played a rendition of "Who We Be," a song by rapper DMX.

The chorus of the song is "They don't know who we be," but after a convincing 99-87 win over the Eagles in the semifinals of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs can claim anonymity in the CIAA no longer.

The win at the RBC Center in front of 15,786 put the Bulldogs (25-4), ranked No. 18 in Division II, in the final of the tournament for the first time.

They will play tonight at 8 against Virginia Union, a 78-74 winner over St. Augustine's.

"It's not just for the players and the team - it's for the whole school and all the players of the past," said Bowie State coach Luke D'Alessio. "It's a great thrill to be in the championship game."

The Eagles (16-13) simply had no answer for the Bulldogs' trio of big men - 6-foot-9 center Jon Smith, 6-9 forward Tim Washington and 6-8 forward Shawn Hampton (St. Frances) - which combined to score 50 points and pull down 22 rebounds.

It also didn't help that the Eagles' leading scorer, guard Shawn Ray, a first-team all-conference selection, never really got into a groove.

Bowie State forward Stephen Moss-Kelley did a good job of denying Ray the ball and clamping down on him when he did have possession, forcing him into just 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting.

After a tense first half that ended in a 44-44 tie, the Bulldogs opened the second with a 15-3 run to take a 59-47 lead with 16:25 left in the game. Washington chipped in seven points during that spurt.

The Eagles clawed their way back to within seven, but the Bulldogs again went on a big run, this time a 15-0 jaunt to make it 82-61 with 6:23 left.

BOWIE STATE-McMurray 3-5 5-6 14, J. Smith 7-8 0-1 14, O. Smith 5-9 5-6 16, Washington 6-9 12-17 24, Moss-Kelley 3-6 1-2 9, Wood 0-0 0-0 0, Van Norden 1-3 2-2 5, Hampton 4-4 4-4 12, Ross 0-0 0-0 0, Como 0-1 0-0 0, Wright-Nelson 0-0 0-2 0, Lewis, Jr. 0-1 5-8 5, Fields 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-46 34-48 99. N.C. Central-Covington 1-1 0-0 2, Ray 4-14 0-0 11, Tabron 0-2 0-0 0, Noel 4-10 4-4 12, Smith 1-1 3-4 5, Tucker 6-13 4-5 19, Evans 0-1 0-0 0, Knight 2-4 0-0 4, Debro 2-9 1-1 5, Nickens 6-13 2-4 19, Moore 0-0 2-4 2, Warren 4-6 0-0 8, Manning 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-74 16-22 87. Half-44-44. Rebounds-Bowie State 36 (Washington 10), N.C. Central 31 (Ray, Nickens 5). Assists-Bowie State 21 (McMurray 5), N.C. Central 13 (Noel 4). A-15,786.

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