Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 2, 2014

Battlers dominate inside to cool down Bluefield State

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Bluefield State could have done without a Lemon with their basketball.

Richard Lemon scored 22 points and Adam Kline added 18, and the Alderson-Broaddus Battlers dominated inside to defeat the Big Blues 83-63 on Saturday afternoon at Ned Shott Gymnasium.

Bluefield State (6-12) saw its modest two-game win streak snapped, while the Battlers never trailed as they improved to 14-4, led by the 6-foot-4 Lemon and 6-6 Kline, who were a combined 18 for 25 from the field and 40 points.

Lemon also led Alderson-Broaddus with seven rebounds, while Ali Bilal dished out five assists.

“We have two pretty good inside players in Kline and Lemon, that kid is coming around,” Alderson-Broaddus head coach Greg Zimmerman said. “They had a really good big kid, but we thought we had an advantage at the other spots inside tonight so we tried to do that.”

Size inside is a definite issue for the Blues, whose only legitimate big man is 6-9 Samuel Ouedraogo, who was simply outmatched in this one.

“Even he couldn’t do it today,” Bluefield State head coach Jamaal Jackson said. “We knew it would come back to haunt us sooner or later and tonight was one of those nights that our lack of inside size came back to haunt us.  

“Even worst than that, they got a lot of offensive rebounds. It is only saying (on the stat sheet) six, but they got more than six offensive rebounds and scored off of those.”

Four Alderson-Broaddus players reached double figures, with Malcolm Tatum and Thylas Perkins adding 13 points each. The Battlers shot 55.6 percent (30-54) from the field, making six 3s, along with 17 for 25 from the free throw line. Tatum was 8 for 10 from there.

“That is where we thought their weakness was tonight,” said Zimmerman, of Bluefield State’s lack of size. “At the other end it is our weakness, they can take us down there, but we were fortunate to get a lot inside tonight.”

Meanwhile, Bluefield State struggled to score, with the Battlers limiting penetration in the lane. The Blues had to compensate with 3s, taking 17 and making six, including three by Joseph Dawkins.

“That is what we tried to do was take away their penetration and not allow them to get to the basket,” Zimmerman said. “We did that and luckily they didn’t make a lot of 3s.”

Shakir Dunning and Treon Claiborne have led the Blues all season, but while combining for 24 points, that duo was just 7 for 21 from the field.

“With Dunning and Claiborne being our two leading scorers, they like to get to the basket and Alderson-Broaddus really sagged back with the defense,” Jackson said. “They sagged back in the lane so it is hard to get to the basket.

“We took 17 3s, but that bothered us and even when getting to the basket I feel like a lot of calls they were getting we weren’t getting.”

Claiborne led the Blues with 13 points and Dunning matched Dawkins with 11 apiece. Avery Holliday added 10, and Ouedraogo had nine points and 16 rebounds. The Big Blues were 46.8 (22-47) percent from the field, and 13 for 17 from the charity stripe.

Alderson-Broaddus never trailed, building a 42-31 lead at the break. Bluefield State stayed closed in the second half, but a pair of technicals in a span of 1:42 on Holliday and Jackson helped the Battlers pull away by 20, at 61-41 with 13:32 on the clock.

“Even early in the game they were calling touch fouls on us,” Jackson said. “We are a team that drives to the basket a lot so guys are leaning on guys inside and when they go up for the shot they are still getting hit, especially with these new rules in college.

“That is supposed to take away all that leaning and hand checking as you drive to the basket, but tonight it wasn’t one of those cases .”

Bluefield State was able to trim the lead to 10, but could never get any closer against the Battlers, who outscored the Blues 17-11 over the final 9:42 of the game.

Alderson-Broaddus, which is now a member of the Great Midwest Conference, won its 11th game in a row.

“So far, but we still have a good ways to go,” said Zimmerman, of the current run by the Battlers. “We just don’t have a lot of depth there and that concerns you if you get in foul trouble. We just have to keep our fingers crossed and stay healthy.”

Bluefield State has just seven games remaining, and just two at home. The Big Blues travel Wednesday to Chowan. They had been scheduled to play Lees-McRae on Monday, but that game has been canceled.

“Every game matters,” Jackson said. “Every practice matters.”

—Contact Brian Woodson