Charlotte, NC – The Broncos are off on another tournament run!
Fayetteville State, the CIAA Southern Division No. 5 Seed, survived the first round of the tournament with a 62-55 win over Lincoln (Pa.) in the Bojangles’ Coliseum.
“Make sure that you play harder than them and smarter than them,” said Head Coach Ken Spencer in his locker room pre-game pep talk.
“It's been a tough year for us during the regular season,” said Coach Spencer in the post-game interview. “Our guys really came and showed a lot of character tonight. We were able to grind out a win. It doesn’t matter how you get it, as long as you survive and advance. Our guys played to the end. We did enough just to win a basketball game.”
Fayetteville State dived for balls, scrapped for jump balls, and played above the rim for rebounds all game.
FSU was off to its usual start, trailing Lincoln (Pa.) by nine points (13-4) in the first five minutes of the game. Following the first media timeout, Willie Gilmore’s (Fayetteville, NC) dunk sparked a 10-1 Bronco run that would tie the game at 14-14 with a dunk by Javen McNeil (West End, NC).
The Broncos would keep the game close going into halftime trailing by two (28-26).
Lincoln (Pa.) opened the second half with an 8-1 run to lead 35-29 in the first three minutes.
Still down by six (37-31) at the 15:54 mark, Willie Gilmore drained two three-pointers which led to a 15-2 run by Fayetteville State and a 46-39 lead with 10:50 remaining. The run ended with another three-pointer by Gilmore.
The Lions worked its way back into the game, trailing by one (46-45), on a layup by Gevon Arrington with 8:30 left in the game.
Gilmore answered the call with his fourth three-pointer of the half to trigger an 8-0 run and a 54-45 lead with 5:14 left. The Broncos would maintain the nine-point cushion until the 1:01 mark of the game.
Lincoln (Pa.) would only be able to muster up four free throws as Javen McNeil ended all scoring with an off the rim dunk with 16 seconds left in the game.
Willie Gilmore’s career-high 26 points and Josh Bryant’s (Fayetteville, NC) 17 was enough to advance the Broncos into the second round and a Southern Division matchup against the No. 1 Johnson C. Smith University.
Fayetteville State forced Lincoln (Pa.) into 20 turnovers and limited itself to nine mistakes.
Gevon Arrington led the Lions with 21 points and Elijah Bush finished with 13.
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