In the midst of a late game surge, where senior guard Quinton Drayton hit a clutch three with 2:05 remaining to bring the Bulldogs within six, Virginia State ( 14-7/7-3 CIAA) turned up the intensity defensively, not allowing another basket from Bowie State (5-18/ 3-8 CIAA) to take home a 67-58 victory.
Drayton led the way with a game high 23 points and 4 rebounds on 8-16 shooting from the field, 2-5 shooting from deep, 5-5 from the charity stripe. Junior Joel Webb (Pictured Below) added 10 points and a game high 9 rebounds while 6’7 freshman Amare Wimbush, posted 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Virginia State guard Francis Fitzgerald paced the Trojans with a team high 18 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, Terrance Hunter Whitfield finished with 15 points and 4 rebounds while Tremere Brown contributed 11 points and a team high 7 rebounds.
Bowie State will next host Shaw University, Saturday, February 4th at 4pm
stepped up offensively, especially in the second half, giving Bowie State a chance to win the game late. With the rest of the Bulldogs struggling shooting the ball from the field, Drayton found a much needed rhythm to which the Bulldogs could rely upon. Drayton would go on to score 16 of his 23 points in the second half on 6-9 shooting from the field. He converted shots from all three levels, made his free throws and prevented Virginia State from going on a run to put the game out of reach multiple times in the second half. His late solo 5-0 run brought the Bulldogs within six with a little over two minutes remaining. He put the team on his back as a senior leader should and nearly pulled off a much needed win over a CIAA contender.
Virginia State’s Experience:
truly decided this game, especially down the stretch. Virginia State backcourt of Zach Newkirk and Francis Fitzgerald are both grad students with big game experience being Division I transfers, while senior guard Terrence Hunter-Whitfield and junior forward Tremere Brown also have invaluable experience as college players. It showed in the second half, as the savvy, decision making and toughness of Virginia State, limited mistakes on their end and helped the Trojans capitalize off of Bowie State’s to hold them off. After Drayton’s three pointer pulled Bowie State within six with 2:05 left while also having seized momentum, Virginia State, grabbed five rebounds (two offensive) while holding Bowie State scoreless over the last 2:05 to close out the game. That level of poise, with a feisty Bowie State feeding off its crowd in the middle of a run, can only come from big game experience. Each of the aforementioned players, had their turn contributing throughout the second half. Hunter-Whitfield scored 9 of his 15 points in the second half. Fitzgerald added 9 points in the second half. Brown had 3 points and 3 rebounds and Newkirk (3 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers) did an excellent job of controlling the pace of the game to play at a tempo that was to the Trojans advantage. Virginia State buckled down and grinded out a win in a tough road environment with four of their best upperclassmen leading the way.
Rebounding: was a BIG issue for Bowie State, most notably in the first half when Virginia State built a 37-25 halftime lead. The Bulldogs were out-rebounded by the Trojans 26-11 in the first half with 11 of the Trojans rebounds, coming on the offensive glass. Overall, Virginia State won the battle on the boards 43-27. In a close game, not being able to secure rebounds to not only end a teams defensive stand but to also get into the offense is HUGE. Simply put, Virginia State was the more physical team who didn’t hesitate to throw their bodies around in the paint to secure a rebound. Those extra possessions for Virginia State proved to be critical when you look at the final score. While the Trojans didn’t always score right away, they ran time off the clock and forced Bowie State to play defense an extended amount of time. Bowie State did a better job in the second half by only being out-rebounded 17-16 (6-5 offensive), however, the damage done on the glass in the first half was too much to overcome.
3-point shooting: also was a key factor in the loss for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs shot 25 percent for the game, yet, in the first half is where they dug a deep hole that they couldn’t get out of. BSU shot 2-9 from deep while VSU shot 4-8 from deep. Bowie State forced 3-point shots when they could’ve possibly found a more efficient shot had they’d been more patient. Bowie State is in the bottom of the CIAA in 3-point shooting percentage, converting 32%, while Virginia State is second in the conference, hitting 36 percent from deep. In the first half, with the Bulldogs getting up nearly double digit three pointers, they faced a 12 point deficit while shooting 34 percent from the field. In the second half where BSU only attempted THREE 3-pointers, the Bulldogs outscored the Trojans 33-30 and shot nearly 50 percent from the field. Better shot selection no doubt was a major part in the offensive efficiency for Bowie State in the second half. Yes Virginia State had advantages in some areas, but, in other areas, Bowie State beat themselves. Shot selection for half of the game was one of those areas.