Feb. 25, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Fayetteville State Broncos just made a potential run at the CIAA Tournament championship a little easier on themselves.
Anthony Shelton (Fr., Cary, N.C.) led the Broncos with 17 points and Tyrrel Tate added 15 as Fayetteville State rocketed to the No. 4 seed in the CIAA's Southern Division after a convincing 64-54 victory over Winston-Salem State on the road on Saturday night.
Fayetteville State (9-16, 6-10, 4-6), which has won four of its last six games, came into the night needing a win over the rival Rams (18-8, 10-6, 4-6) and a little help elsewhere in the conference.
The Broncos got both.
With Johnson C. Smith taking care of Livingstone 89-77 on at the same time on Saturday night in Charlotte, Fayetteville State captured the division's fourth seed. It is a critical move for the Broncos, who receive a bye out of next week's opening round of the CIAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. Instead of needing five wins in five days to win the league title, the Broncos will await the winner of Tuesday's opening round matchup between Lincoln (PA) and St. Augustine's. Fayetteville State's first tournament game will now come on Wednesday. The pairings and game times will be finalized on Sunday.
Had the Broncos' lost on Saturday night, they likely would have finished sixth in the Southern Division.
But that didn't happen. And it was a freshman who wouldn't allow it.
Shelton, named a CIAA All-Rookie selection earlier this week, poured in 11 points by halftime, hitting a 3-pointer to cap a 14-4 run to give the Broncos a 37-24 lead with 58 seconds left in the first half.
It was a brilliant opening period for the Broncos, who shot 6 of 9 from 3-point range and hit 52 percent of their shots from the field to silence a capacity crowd at the Gaines Center. Eight different Broncos scored in the first half, and Fayetteville State cruised into the break with a 37-26 advantage.
Fayetteville State threatened to turn the game into a laugher, using a 10-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half to build its largest lead, 47-28, with 15:20 to go.
The Rams, though, came roaring back, using a 21-5 run to trim the deficit to three, 52-49, with 5:55 to go.
But Shelton, who has scored in double figures in four of the last seven Broncos' games, hit a jumper, and after a layup by Andre Best (Jr., Raleigh, N.C.), Fayetteville State stretched the lead back to seven, 56-49, with 3:59 to go.
The Broncos hung on for the win - and the Southern Division's fourth seed - from there.
Shelton made all three of his 3-point attempts while Tate (So., Raleigh, N.C.) was 5-for-8 from the field. The Broncos' bench outscored the Rams' reserves 20-12, and the Broncos never relinquished the lead in a must-win game.
Fayetteville State held Winston-Salem State to just 35 percent shooting, and got eight point, three assists and three steals from Best. Nine different Broncos' players scored, giving Fayetteville State one of its best performances of the season.
Justin Glover led Winston-Salem State with 16 points. WyKevin Bazemore added 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.