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Bluefield State upends top-seeded Winston-Salem State, 59-56 in OT in CIAA men's tournament opener

Feb. 29—BALTIMORE, Md. — CIAA Men's Basketball Tournament defending champion Winston-Salem State had to get up early for Wednesday's 10 a.m. CIAA tournament opener at CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore.

Evidently the Rams didn't get up early enough.

In a back-and-forth game that featured 11 lead changes and was locked up nine times, Bluefield State University pulled off what may be the biggest upset of its program history — most definitely the biggest upset of this year's tournament — when it toppled the top seed 67-66 in overtime.

This is Bluefield State's first season of CIAA membership since the 1950s. The Big Blue is the newest member of the league.

The Bluefield State women also had a stunning CIAA tournament debut on Tuesday, beating Livingston College 59-56 in their first conference tournament appearance.

The Big Blue men, however, so far take underdog bragging rights for 'the big one that didn't get away."

"This is a fun group of guys to coach," Bluefield State head coach David Hoehn told the press after the game.

The Big Blue (9-21) had five players score in double figures. Jordan Hinds fired up a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, handing out three assists. Nduka Ogwu had 14 points and 10 rebounds, also pocketing four steals. Ja'Mere Redus scored 15 points and distrubuted five assists. Redus hit the game-winning basket in overtime.

Travon Cooper and Chase Page scored 10 points apiece.

The Rams (19-9) got 34 points from CIAA Player of the Year Jaylan Alston, who also rounded up 15 rebounds. All-CIAA pick Isaac Parson had 10 points and nine rebounds.

Bluefield State advances to play Virginia State in today's 8 p.m. quarterfinal game.

CIAA Women's Tournament

BALTIMORE, Md. — Bluefield State University women's basketball took down Livingstone College in their first game of the CIAA Basketball tournament, 59-56, on Tuesday.

The Blue Bears struck first, but back-to-back layups from Shalance Montoya and Alexyss Newman put the Big Blue ahead by one. Later in the quarter, a jumper from Katrina Davis gave the Big Blue the three-point lead. The Blue Bears pulled within one heading into the second.

After the Blue Bears took the lead in the second, the Big Blue answered with nine consecutive points to take the 21-14 lead. The Blue Bears cut the lead to four with 31 seconds to go, but a bucket from Jayla Sample gave the Big Blue the six-point lead going into the half.

Midway through the third, the Blue Bears tied it up at 37 and later at 39.

The Blue Bears took the one point lead with five seconds to go in the third, but two free throws from Davis gave the Big Blue the one point lead going into the third.

The Big Blue quickly went to work with a layup from Gabrielle Thomas and a three from Davis to take the 48-42 lead.

The Blue Bears pulled within one, but another Davis three extended the Big Blue lead to four.

With just under a minute left to play, a three from the Blue Bears cut the Big Blue lead to two but a free throw from Azariah Binford pushed the Big Blue ahead 59-56. A defensive rebound from Thomas with five seconds left sealed the 59-56 victory for the Big Blue.

Thomas earned Food Lion MVP of the game, coming away with 13 rebounds and eight points. Newman led the scoring for the Big Blue with 20 points.

In Wednesday's meeting with Fayetteville State, the Bluefield State women lost 59-45. Alexyss Newman led the Big Blue women with 19 points and nine rebounds. Azariah Binford scored nine points and had three assists.