For Falcons, goat turns to hero in a hurry

CorrespondentFebruary 27, 2013 

In just a fraction of a second, St. Augustine’s center Jonathan Crawley made the bonehead play of the game – and then the play that kept the Falcons alive in the CIAA Tournament.

Crawley overcame a botched dunk that he rebounded and then turned into a 3-point play in the closing seconds, lifting St. Augustine’s to a 60-56 second-round victory against Virginia Union on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Crawley finished with 12 points for the Falcons (16-11), and his heads-up play with 9.9 seconds left broke a 55-all tie and snapped St. Augustine’s five-game losing streak.

“The guys hung in there down the stretch when a little bit of adversity hit,” Falcons coach Lonnie Blow Jr. said. “At the end of the day, we’re moving on.”

The Falcons will next play Livingstone, the South Division’s No. 1 seed, in a quarterfinal game Thursday night.

The Bears (20-5) had a first-round bye, as did North Division No. 1 seed Lincoln (Pa.) (17-9), which will play Bowie State (13-13) in the quarterfinals.

In Thursday’s other quarterfinal games, Winston-Salem State (20-5) will play Virginia Union (10-14), while Elizabeth City State (16-10) will face Johnson C. Smith (16-10).

Tyquan Stroman added 11 points and Joel Kindred and Jon Kindred had 10 points each for St. Augustine’s, the North Division’s No. 5 seed, which led by as many as 16 points in the first half and was up 31-21 at the break.

But the Trojans (13-15), the South Division’s No. 4 seed, fought back to tie the score at 55-all on a pair of free throws by James Vann with 31.5 seconds remaining.

With no shot clock to worry about, St. Augustine’s worked for the last shot, and went inside to its big man. His dunk attempt bounced off the rim, but he grabbed the rebound and was fouled as he put in the layup.

“When I missed it, my heart dropped,” Crawley said. “The next-best thing was to get the rebound and go back up.”

Christopher Grieg scored a game-high 20 points and Kenny Mitchell had 12 for Virginia Union, which shot just 37.5 percent (18 of 48) and hit just 2 of 11 3-pointers.

The Falcons didn’t shoot much better – 39 percent (23 of 59) and 5 of 19 on 3-pointers.

But they had a 45-27 rebounding advantage, including a 19-7 edge on the offensive glass.

Bowie State 78, Chowan 56: The Bulldogs took a 39-25 halftime lead and never looked back.

Byron Westmorland led Bowie State with 25 points.

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