Rams hold off Scots in NCCAA Regional Opening Round with 80-74 win
Bluefield now just two games away from a NCCAA national tournament berth
Sports Information Department BC
March 8, 2012
Bluefield College Athletics
Sports Information Department
Martinsville, Tenn.- The Rams escaped an early exit from the NCCAA Regionals by beating Covenant College 80-74 on Thursday evening at Hiwassee College.
Bluefield jumped out to an early 14-4 lead on the Scots in the opening six minutes. Every Bluefield starter had at least five points in the first ten minutes which helped keep Covenant honest on the defensive end.
The Scots did a respectable job on leading scorer, Byron Carpenter, allowing him four FG attempts from the floor in the first half for six points. The Rams countered with finding their other big man down low, Ted Oboute who started off hot with seven points.
Morgan's side continued to hold on to a comfortable ten-point lead late into the first half by going up 25-15 with 3:00 to play. As Covenant closed the gap late in the half to make it a four-point lead, Andrew Wilson ended the half with three-pointer with :5 seconds remaining to give Bluefield a 35-28 advantage into intermission.
Bluefield started the second half shooting very well, as Marion and M'bala started to find more looks at the basket. They extended BC's lead to the largest of the game, 13, but the Scots rallied behind Seals and McGriff to score five straight points and make it a 49-43 contest with 14:00 on the clock.
Scots were led in scoring by Sears and McGriff as they would give Bluefield a run for their money late into the second half. They would combine for 38 points, more than half of the team's total.
While Marion helped give Bluefield some offensive spark in the first half, Borgia M'bala and Byron Carpenter carried the Rams in the second frame. Carpenter was tough to handle inside as Covenant continued to foul Carpenter inside putting him on the free throw line ten times. He would finish 12 for 20 from the charity stripe, but started out 11 of 11 (which started early in the 2nd half).
With 2:40 to play in the game, Marion drained a clutch three followed by two FT's by M'bala to give Bluefield an eight-point margin. But Covenant wasn't ready to give up so quickly, yet the Rams nearly handed the Scots the game. On two turnovers by O'boute and Wilson, both under a minute to go, Covenant cut the lead to a single basket, 76-74 with :37 seconds left to play.
After a Covenant missed shot, they sent Brooks to the line and he buried both free throws to give Bluefield a four-point lead. On the insuing possession, Carpenter came up with a big steal leading to fast-break FG by Brooks to put the stamp of approval on the 80-74 win for Bluefield.
Bluefield had solid performances from Carpenter (20), M'bala (18) and Marion (17). Wilson also chipped in ten points on the night.
The Rams move on to the Regional semi-finals where they will face #2-seed Tennessee Temple at 5:00pm.