Charlotte, NC – The Fayetteville State University men’s basketball team earns a trip to the CIAA Championship game with a 70-61 victory against the defending champion Virginia State University on Friday, February 25th at the Spectrum Center. FSU improves to 13-15 overall.
The Broncos wasted no time jumping out to a 9-0 lead over the first three minutes of the game. Senior guard Joshua Dawson (Kinston, NC) scored the first seven along with a layup from senior forward Michael Tyson (Kinston, NC). The lead would balloon to 20-6 with 10:32 to play after sophomore guard Isaiah Vinson (Fayetteville, NC) converted a jumper.
VSU retaliated with a 10-0 run over the next 5:49 to trim the deficit to just 20-19. Kevin Williams had four points in that span to go along with five from Elijah Moore for the Trojans.
Redshirt junior guard Jyonte’ Raynor (Goldsboro, NC) got a layup to fall with 1:06 left in the opening half to push the lead to 28-23. Waymond Wright drained a three-pointer with just two seconds left to bring Virginia State within two (28-26) entering the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, FSU boosted the lead back to eight points (36-28) at the 16:40 mark off back-to-back baskets from redshirt freshman guard Josh Bryant (Fayetteville, NC). VSU responded by cutting their deficit to 36-32 after a basket by Richard Granberry. Elijah Moore cashed in a long three-pointer to cut the FSU lead down to 41-39.
Kevin Williams tied the game at 41-41 with a leaner at the 11:43 mark. Cyonte Melvin knocked down a free throw with 10:56 on the clock to give VSU a 42-41 lead; their first of the game.
VSU pushed the lead to 48-43 following an FSU turnover. With 6:11 remaining in the contest, Walter Williams nailed a three-pointer to give Virginia State their largest lead of the game at 54-45.
Fayetteville State regrouped and closed in to 54-50 after Tyson banked in a turn-around jumper with 3:52 to play. Following a Trojans’ turnover, Dawson made a three-pointer to cut the lead to 54-53. On the next possession, Dawson knocked down another three-pointer for the Broncos to regain the lead (56-54).
Dawson made it three three-pointers in a row after a VSU turnover. Following the basket, Bryant made a quick steal and scored, giving Fayetteville State a 61-54 advantage with just 1:35 left. The Broncos managed to hold onto the lead for the remainder of the contest.
Redshirt sophomore forward William Tibbs (Winston-Salem, NC) added an exclamation point in the closing seconds with a breakaway dunk. VSU hit a three-pointer as time expired to account for the 70-61 final.
Dawson concluded the contest with a game-high 28 points; his third straight game as the Broncos leading scorer. Bryant had 15 points and five rebounds, while Tyson secured a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Trojans end the season with a 22-6 overall record. VSU had four players in double figures led by Granberry with 16 points. Walter Williams had 13, while Kevin Williams and Elijah Moore each had 11 points.
Fayetteville State will take on Bowie State (Northern No. 4 seed) for the 2017 CIAA Championship at 7:00 p.m. inside the Spectrum Center. FSU is seeking their first CIAA men’s basketball title since 1973.
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