Bowie stands tall, moves to regional final, 84-72

Rival Virginia Union Bulldogs' next challenge

Division II men's tournament

Bowie Men

March 14, 2005|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BOWIE -- When last night's Division II South Atlantic Regional semifinal was on the line, Bowie State coach Luke D'Alessio knew just where to go -- down low.

The Bulldogs used their superior size and quickness to pound the ball inside and defeat much smaller Columbus (Ga.) State, 84-72, at A.C. Jordan Arena.

The win gives the Bulldogs a berth in tomorrow's regional final against archrival Virginia Union. The Panthers defeated the University of South Carolina-Upstate, 85-67, in the other semifinal. That game will be played at 7 p.m. at Bowie.

The winner of that game will advance to Division II's Elite Eight in Grand Forks, N.D., on March 23. The Bulldogs defeated Virginia Union in both of their regular-season meetings.

Columbus State had most of its problems with Division II All-American Letheal Cook. Cook had 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs.

"We didn't have anything to combat Cook," Cougars coach Herbert Greene said. "We ought to be allowed to have an extra man when we play against him."

In addition to the 6-foot-10 Cook, Derick Payne (6-6, 17 points) and Isaiah Johnson (6-7, 19 points) also gave Columbus State fits. Of the 84 points that Bowie State scored, 61 came from the trio.

"We jumped on them early, and then we used our size," D'Alessio said.

Bowie State's defense played well, too. The Bulldogs limited the Cougars, whose forte is three-pointers, to just 8-for-32 for 25 percent.

Unlike Saturday night's quarterfinal, The Bulldogs came out aggressive and ran out to a 10-0 lead. Columbus State played catch-up for most of the first half but managed to narrow the margin to three at 28-25 on Chris Jackson's layup with 6:50 left in the half.

From there, Bowie State scored 11 of the next 14 points to take a 39-28 lead on Kevin Bell's three-pointer with 1:56 left before the half.

The Cougars, who defeated defending Division II national champion Kennesaw State in the quarterfinals, closed the gap to 41-35 at the half. Bowie shot 47.1 percent in the first half, while holding the Cougars to just 30.8 percent.

Columbus State scored seven of the first 10 points after the half to cut the margin to 42-40 with 18:47 left. After the teams traded baskets, the Cougars had chances to tie the game on six consecutive possessions but were unable to convert.

COLUMBUS STATE--Tinkler 1-8 0-0 3, Brown 8-27 2-3 24, Coger 0-5 0-0 0, Patterson 1-4 0-0 2, Jones 9-19 8-8 27, Adekola 0-1 0-0 0, Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Portis 0-2 0-0 0, Francis 3-3 0-0 6, Jackson 3-6 2-2 8. Totals 26-77 12-13 72.

BOWIE STATE--Cook 9-16 7-10 25, Payne 7-11 2-4 17, Johnson 7-16 4-5 19, Bell 5-12 2-4 14, Swan 0-2 0-0 0, Holloway 0-0 0-0 0, Cosby 0-0 0-0 0, Campbell 3-7 0-0 9, Thornton 0-0 0-0 0, Konate 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-66 15-23 84. Half: Bowie State, 41-35. Rebounds: CS 41 (Jones 9); BS 46 (Cook 13). Assists: CS 10 (Jones 5); BS 13 (Bell 9). A: 3,574.

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