Accurate Bowie advances in region

12 of 17 on threes, Bulldogs dominate Columbus State in S. Atlantic semis, 95-70

March 16, 2003|By Bryan Brasher | Bryan Brasher,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLUMBUS, GA — COLUMBUS, Ga. - When Columbus State was chosen last week as the top seed and host for the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional, many skeptics wondered aloud whether Bowie State wasn't the better team from the much better conference.

Those skeptics must be smiling now.

After watching Columbus State, the Peach Belt Conference champions, get ousted from the tournament by eighth-seeded Presbyterian on Friday, Bowie State made quick work of another Peach Belt team yesterday with a 95-70 semifinal drubbing of Kennesaw State.

With the win, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association champions earned a spot in tomorrow's 7 p.m. regional title game against Presbyterian (27-8). The regional winner will advance to the Elite Eight championships March 26-29 in Lakeland, Fla.

"We wanted to host this tournament - we were looking forward to it," said Bowie State coach Luke D'Alessio. "But this is honestly a better gym and we've faced fewer distractions playing on the road. We've been able to concentrate on nothing but basketball."

As they did in Friday's first-round win over Lenoir-Rhyne, the Bulldogs got off to a fast start against Kennesaw. But unlike Friday, they did it largely without the help of post player Tim Washington.

After scoring a career-high 39 points in the first-round win, Washington missed five of his first six shots yesterday and spent much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble. But guard Cornelius McMurray and center Jon Smith picked up the slack.

McMurray scored 12 first-half points - all on three-pointers - and Smith added eight points and nine rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 47.6 percent from the field and hit eight of 12 shots from three-point range en route to a 47-23 halftime lead.

"I never dreamed we'd be up 24 at the half," D'Alessio said.

"I was hoping for eight or nine. When you shoot the ball well, everything gets easier. And we were determined not to get outworked the way we saw Kennesaw outwork Virginia Union on Friday."

Aided by a technical foul on the Kennesaw State bench, Bowie State scored the first six points of the second half and ran its lead to 30.

The Bulldogs, who finished 12-for-17 from three-point range, surpassed the 90-point mark for the 13th time this season.

Smith led the way for Bowie State with a game-high 24 points - including three second-half dunks - and 13 rebounds. McMurray finished with 20 points and shot 6-for-8 from three-point range.

Washington finished with nine points in just 17 minutes.

"It says a lot about this team," said Stephen Moss-Kelley, who scored 12. "Tim had 39 in the first round and nine tonight. But other people stepped up in his place - that's what makes us so good."

KENNESAW STATE-McKoy 6-14 4-5 16, Thompson 4-15 2-2 12, Joseph 4-6 3-4 11, Brown 4-9 2-3 10, Thompson 3-4 1-4 7, Hill 2-9 3-3 7, Bienaimee 2-4 1-2 5, Moore 0-7 1-2 1, Coty 0-1 1-2 1, Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Ien 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-72 18-27 70.

BOWIE STATE-Smith 7-10 10-12 24, McMurray 6-10 2-2 20, Moss-Kelley 4-7 0-2 12, Washington 2-8 5-8 9, Lewis 1-2 5-7 8, Hampton 1-1 5-9 7, Fields 3-5 0-2 6, Smith 2-6 0-0 4, Norden 1-1 0-0 3, Wright-Nelson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-51 29-46 95. Half: Bowie State, 47-23. 3-point goals: Kennesaw State 2-16 (Thompson 2-8; Brown 0-2; Moore 0-6); Bowie State 12-17 (McMurray 6-8; Moss-Kelley 4-5; Norden 1-1; Lewis 1-1; Smith 0-2). Rebounds: Kennesaw State 38 (McKoy 9); Bowie State 45 (Smith 13). Assists: Kennesaw State 3 (Hill, McKoy, Moore), Bowie State 17 (Lewis 6). Total fouls: Kennesaw State 32, Bowie State 24. Fouled out: Joseph, Hill. A: 186.

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