February 2016, Sports

Falcons fall in OT heartbreaker at CIAA Tournament

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Guard Anthony Gaskins (Jr./Greenville, NC) scored 28 points and forward Quincy January (So./Atlanta, GA) added 20 points and 12 rebounds for his CIAA-leading 16th double-double, but Saint Augustine’s University suffered a gut-wrenching 73-71 overtime loss to Bowie State University in a CIAA Tournament men’s basketball quarterfinal game at Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

The loss ended the Falcons’ season at 11-17 overall. The Falcons exceeded expectations by finishing second in the Southern Division during the regular season after they were picked fourth in the preseason.

The Falcons entered the tournament with momentum after winning six of their last eight regular-season games. But Bowie State, seeded third in the Northern Division, ended the Falcons’ championship aspirations by scoring with five seconds left in the extra period for the victory. Guard Keith Crawford (Sr./Richmond, VA) of  the Falcons had tied the game at 71-71 on a three-pointer with 19 seconds to go.

After Bowie State’s basket, the Falcons had a glimmer of hope when Gaskins fired a desperation three-pointer from midcourt. The dynamic guard made two buzzer-beating, game-winning threes this season, and his long trey barely missed as the horn sounded.

“It was a hard fought game,” Falcons’ Head Coach MarQus Johnson said. “They made one more play than we did. Hats off to Bowie State. They fought hard. They fought back. We had our chances, it just wasn’t our day.”
The contest went into overtime on a crazy fall-away, three-point bank shot deep in the corner by Bowie State just as the horn sounded in regulation. The Bulldogs (17-12 overall) kept possession on an errant pass before the game-tying three after the officials watched the replay monitor and determined a Falcons’ player had touched the ball. The Bulldogs needed a miracle three-pointer after Gaskins converted a three-point play for a 64-61 Falcons’ lead with six seconds remaining.
“[Julian Livingston] made a helluva shot,” Johnson said. “But we even with that three, we had our chances.”
The Falcons led the entire second half until the final minutes in regulation. At one point, the Falcons were ahead 48-39 on two Gaskins free throws in the second half. But the Bulldogs steadily chipped away at the free throw line. Reaching the bonus early in the half, the Bulldogs connected on 14 of 17 free throw attempts. The Bulldogs took their first second-half lead at 58-57 on a three-pointer with 2:32 left.
The Falcons regained the lead on a steal and layup by Gaskins. January and guard Antonio Watson (Fr./Raleigh, NC) each hit a free throw for a 61-58 lead, but the Bulldogs canned another three to tie the score at 61-61 with 33 seconds remaining. It appeared Gaskins would be the hero again with his three-point play until the Bulldogs sent the game into overtime.
Gaskins added three steals for the Falcons. Crawford chipped in eight points, five rebounds and two steals while Nick Moyer (Sr./Martinsville, VA) snatched six rebounds. Despite being outsized, the Falcons outscored the Bulldogs 34-10 in the paint. They were 19 of 26 for 73.1 percent from the free throw line, but missed three free throws in the final 3:23 of regulation.
Miles Jackson led Bowie State with 16 points and eight rebounds. Both Andre Jackson and Ahmaad Wilson each added 13 points.
The Falcons seized control early with a 12-0 run for a 19-7 lead. Even though the Bulldogs used a 10-0 run to get within two points, the Falcons led nearly the entire first half. They went into halftime with a 29-26 lead, and led the entire second half until late in the contest.
“I thought we controlled the tempo at times,” Johnson said. “That was our main key. Bowie loves to get out and score in transition.”
Despite the loss, the Falcons finished strong in the final month of the season. Seniors Crawford, Moyer, Nick Tennell (Guard/Port St. Lucie, FL) and Marquis Hines (Forward/Fayetteville, N.C.) played big roles in the turnaround and will be missed.
The Falcons could be even better next season with the return of Gaskins and January. Several student-athletes who were red-shirted this season will also play.
“Seeing our seniors after the game, I don’t want to feel the same way next year,” Gaskins said. “I am going to give everything I got.”
Added Coach Johnson: “I told our returning players to remember the feeling. Now you have to understand that you can’t take any days off. You have to get better each and every day because you don’t want to have this feeling again.”
— Office of Sports Information
 Day 2 Wrap-up: