Bowie State makes Div. II Elite Eight

Moss-Kelley's 7 threes sink Presbyterian, 67-53

March 18, 2003|By Bryan Brasher | Bryan Brasher,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Presbyterian College scored upsets in the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional on Friday and Saturday by frustrating its opponents with a monotonous, slow-motion offense.

But when the Blue Hose shifted into low gear against Bowie State last night, the Bulldogs just ran right by them and into the national quarterfinals.

Stephen Moss-Kelley hit seven three-pointers, and Bowie State punctuated an impressive tournament run with a 67-53 victory over Presbyterian in the regional championship game at Columbus State.

Next for the Bulldogs (29-4) is a trip to the Elite Eight in Lakeland, Fla., where they will meet Massachusetts-Lowell (28-4) on March 26.

"We knew this tournament was going to be about how badly we wanted to win and how hard we wanted to work," said Bowie coach Luke D'Alessio. "That's certainly what this last win was about. Presbyterian had maybe the best zone defense I've seen, and we offset it with rebounding and hard work on defense."

Bowie State looked frustrated during the first 15 minutes as it searched for ways to solve the Blue Hose's pass-first, shoot-second offense and their pesky halfcourt defense. The score was tied 20-20 with 4:46 remaining, but Moss-Kelley hit three threes down the stretch as Bowie State built a 32-24 halftime lead.

Moss-Kelley hit two more threes early in the second half, and the Bulldogs looked poised to pull away - just as they did in Saturday's semifinal win over Kennesaw State. But Presbyterian guard Chuck Rayford scored eight straight points to keep the Blue Hose (27-9) within striking distance at 50-47.

D'Alessio used a trio of players - Omarr Smith, Allen Van Norden and Arthur Lewis - to guard Rayford. But Lewis' late-game efforts had the most significant effect.

When the Blue Hose cut the deficit to three, Lewis began an in-your-face assault that frustrated Rayford and caused him to take off-balance shots. As a result, Rayford went scoreless over a seven-minute span - even asking out of the game at one point - and Bowie State finally pulled away.

"I just tried to crowd him without fouling him," said Lewis, who played his high school ball at Milford Mill. "I could see he was getting frustrated when he turned to the ref and said, `Get him off me.' Then when he asked to come out of the game, I knew I had him."

Moss-Kelley led the Bulldogs with 21 points, and tournament Most Valuable Player Tim Washington had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Rayford led Presbyterian with a game-high 25 points and seven rebounds.

"There were two or three most valuable players this week," said Washington, who finished the tournament with 65 points. "We've all bought into a system and there are no selfish players on this team - that's what makes the difference for us."

Bowie State crushed the Blue Hose on the boards, 47-25 - including 15-3 on the offensive end.

"They're the first team really all season that has out-rebounded us," said Presbyterian coach Gregg Nibert. "We knew we had to outhustle people to win games in this tournament. We did that the first two nights, but they played great defense and were extremely athletic.

"They're a great team."

PRESBYTERIAN-Drum 2-11 2-2 6, Isom 2-7 1-2 5, Whittle 2-3 1-13 7, Rayford 10-20 3-3 25, Ballenger 3-4 0-0 7, Scully 0-0 1-2 1, Stamps 0-1 0-0 0, Collins 1-2 0-1 2, Dellinger 0-3 0-0 0, Davis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-52 8-13 53. BOWIE STATE-J.Smith 5-8 1-2 11, Moss-Kelley 7-10 0-0 21, Washington 6-16 5-6 15, McMurray 3-10 0-0 7, O.Smith 2-9 2-2 7, Norden 0-1 0-0 0, Hampton 0-3 4-4 4, Lewis 0-2 0-1 0. Totals 23-59 12-15 67. Halftime-Bowie State, 32-24. Rebounds-PC 25 (Rayford 7); BSU 47 (Washington 15). Assists-PC 8 (Rayford 5); BSU 14 (McMurray 4). A-543.

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