CHARLOTTE, N.C. The night before Elizabeth City State’s 68-56 win over Bowie State, Shawn Walker said the Vikings needed to contain BSU’s All-Conference big men Duke Crews and Travis Hyman.
Consider that mission accomplished.
ECSU (16-13) harassed the duo into 11 combined turnovers, limited the Bulldogs to 35.7 percent shooting and advanced to the CIAA tournament semifinals.
“We’re just so excited right now to be advancing”, said Walker. ”We did a great job tonight neutralizing Duke Crews. Naturally, its a very difficult task for us but I thought we did a great job”.
The Vikings Blake Price had 15 points and four assists, both team-highs.
Walker’s team missed nine of its first 10 shots and its first four free throws. According to BSU (16-10) head coach Darrell Brooks, Price’s ability to penetrate disrupted the Bulldogs defense.
“He did a great job today in handling our pressure and not turning the ball over”, said Brooks. ”He was very decisive in what he was doing. Going into a game we always want to keep those guards in front of us. When he’s making baskets, that makes their offense that much better”.
“I tend to go into the lane”, Price said. ”Lately, I haven’t been finishing as well, but tonight I finally finished some shots”.
Crews, the CIAA’s Player of the Year, finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Hyman added seven points and 10 rebounds while Eric Vann and Andrew Engel had 10 points each for the Eastern Division Co-Champions.
Hyman fouled out after playing 26 minutes and was 2-of-9 from the field. ECSU constantly double and triple-teamed the 6-foot-11 center, limiting his offensive opportunities.
“Its frustrating because it’s like you’re trying to help your team out but you can’t,” he said. ”They played a good game and they did what they were supposed to do”.
Added Crews: ”If I was the opposing team, I think I’d do kind of the same thing. We’ve kind of faced it the whole year. You have to give them all the credit. They executed their game plan and they came out with the win”.
Angelo Sharpless, the CIAA’s Rookie of the Year, had a double-double with 14 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Trent Bivens had 12 points and Paul Goldsmith contributed 11.
The loss was the final opportunity for Crews and fellow seniors Corey Stevens, Engel, Armond Hill and Corey Camphor to wear a BSU uniform.
A transfer from the University of Tennessee, Crews said he loved his time in the CIAA.
“The level of competition here is second to none,” he said. ”I had a great experience here. I wish it wasn’t over and didn’t have to end this way. But, I’m grateful for my experience here”.
ECSU led by eight, 28-20, at halftime and by as much as 15 in the second half. The Vikings scored 36 points in the paint and got 31 points from their bench.