Falcons Fly Into Semifinal

WEST LIBERTY – No. 4-seeded Fairmont State (23-8) made Livingstone’s first NCAA Tournament game a forgettable experience with a convincing 91-73 blowout of the Blue Bears (22-7) in the fourth Atlantic Region quarterfinal of the day at the ASRC.

The Falcons opened the game with an 18-3 burst and never trailed in coasting to the easy win. Fairmont State shot 69 percent (20-of-29) from the floor including a 6-for-6 showing from the 3-point arc to build a 54-27 halftime lead before coasting through the second half.

Isaiah Hill’s 16 points paced four double-figure scorers for Fairmont State. Tommy Scales and Chase Morgan finished with 14 and 13, respectively, while Isaac Thornton added 10 points.

Livingstone got a game-high 18 points from Jody Hill. Anthony Welch added a dozen with Mark Thomas scoring 11 and Omar Ford-Bey finishing with 10.

Today’s Atlantic Region semifinals will be rematches of conference tournament championship games from earlier this month. West Liberty defeated Fairmont State, 92-78, in the WVIAC Tournament final while Indiana (Pa.) outlasted Slippery Rock, 52-46, in the PSAC Tournament title tilt.

No. 3 Indiana (Pa.) 76, No. 6 East Stroudsburg 68

The No. 3-seeded Crimson Hawks (25-5) used a late-game surge to pull away from the Warriors (22-7) and advance to the Atlantic Region semifinals for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

Trailing 54-52 midway through the second half after back-to-back baskets by East Stroudsburg’s Whis Grant, IUP forged a 54-54 tie with a post move from Josh Wiegand and took the lead for good, 57-54, on Anthony Wells’ sixth 3-pointer of the game with 9:30 to go.

With the Crimson Hawks locking down on the defensive end, Wiegand would eventually cap the decisive 12-3 surge with a jump hook in the paint for a 64-57 IUP edge as the clock ticked past the 5-minute mark.

The Warriors closed the gap to 64-61 on a Grant free throw with 3:22 remaining but Wiegand cashed in an offensive rebound and Scooter Renkin followed with a conventional 3-point play drawing Grant’s fifth foul in the process to put the game on ice, 69-61, with 2:31 to go.

Wells set the offensive pace for IUP with 22 points while Marcel Souberbielle added 16 points and a game-high 8 rebounds. Renkin and Wiegand rounded out the double-figure scorers with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Grant led all scorers with 26 points for ESU but Terrance King was the only other double-figure scorers for the Warriors with 11 points.

No. 7 Slippery Rock 69, No. 7 Winston-Salem 67

Slippery Rock’s Tabari Perry scored on a layup with 2.6 seconds remaining to complete The Rock’s quarterfinal comeback against the No. 2-seeded Rams (21-7).

Winston-Salem State appeared to be on its way to victory after a WyKevin Bazemore basket capped a 14-4 run and gave the Rams a 66-61 lead as the clock ticked under 4 minutes to play.

That proved to be the final basket of the day for the Rams, however, and The Rock began chipping away.

Three free throws by Devin Taylor and another charity toss from Sa’Quan Davis pulled Slippery Rock within a point, 66-65, as the game entered the final minute. The Rock got the ball back after another defensive stop and Taylor, a 6-6 senior, tipped in a missed shot for a 67-66 Slippery Rock lead with 32 seconds to play.

Winston-Salem’s Justin Glover was fouled with 11 seconds to go but made just 1-of-2 free throws to tie the score at 67-67. Davis, the SRU point guard, hustled the ball into the offensive end and drew the defense to him with an aggressive move into the paint, before sliding a pass across the lane to Perry for the uncontested game-winner.

Taylor, a 6-6 senior, had a huge game for the winners with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Perry and Gerald Brooks added a dozen points each while Davis chipped in with 11 points.

Joe Thompson came off the bench to lead WSSU with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Glover and Michel-Ofik Nzege finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively.