Virginia State and Chowan took different paths in winning their opening-round games Tuesday night in the CIAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Trojans overcame a slow start in the first half to beat Fayetteville State 75-65, while the Hawks got a key 3-pointer from Ashante Ross with the closing seconds in a 59-58 victory over Shaw in the nightcap.
Virginia State (13-14) will next play St. Augustine’s (15-11), the No. 4 seed from the South Division, in the first of two second-round games Wednesday night. In the second game, Chowan (7-19) will play Bowie State (12-13), the North Division’s fourth seed.
Ross finished with 17 points for the Hawks, the North Division’s No. 6 seed, including the game-winning 3 with 4 seconds remaining to cap Chowan’s rally from a 31-24 halftime deficit.
Kyree Bethel and Quinton McDuffie added 16 points each for the Hawks, who struggled early, going down 14-0 in the first five minutes before getting their game on track.
Chowan led 54-50 with 2:34 left in the second half on Mark Anthony Buright’s layup, but Shaw (16-10) regained the lead nearly a minute later on Keith Mitchell’s 3-pointer.
Latrail McCoy hit a pair of free throws and Curtis Hines made a third to put the Bears up 58-56 with 20.2 seconds left, giving the Hawks one last chance.
Junius Chaney scored 17 points for Shaw, the South Division’s No. 5 seed.
In the opening game, Allen Harris scored a game-high 21 points – 16 coming in a key stretch of the second half – and two other players finished in double figures for the Trojans, who only led twice against the Broncos (9-17).
Christopher Grier added 16 points and James Vann 15 for Virginia State, the North Division’s No. 5 seed, which saw Fayetteville State rally from an opening 10-1 run to take a 34-26 halftime lead.
The Broncos, the South Division’s No. 6 seed, then opened the second half with a 14-5 run, going ahead 48-31 on Devin Thompson’s layup with 16:03 remaining for their biggest lead of the game.
But Virginia State whittled away at Fayetteville State’s lead, tying the score three times before taking it outright at 58-56 on Harris’ layup with 7:13 left. The Trojans then put the game away at the free throw line, hitting 10 of 13 in the final six minutes. In all, Virginia State outshot the Broncos at the stripe, making 24 of 31 (77.4 percent) to Fayetteville State’s 15 of 29 (51.7 percent).
Anthony Shelton had 12 points and Devin Thompson 10 for the Broncos.