By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Four Bluefield State players scored in double figures to lead the Big Blues to an 87-77 win over the Bluefield College Rams in the men’s Battle of the Bluefields, Tuesday night at Ned Shott Gymnasium.
“I always tell the guys if we can get four guys in double figures we’ll have a great chance of winning every game,” said BSC head coach Jamaal Jackson. “We got to the basket and we got to the free throw line… .”
A hard fought, physical contest throughout, BSC took the early lead before BC drew even at nine on a bucket by Nick Strathopoulos.
Nip-and-tuck throughout the first half, State opened a six point lead late in the first half that grew as high as 10 points before the Rams closed the game to seven at halftime on two free throws by Kearsten Marion with half a second to play.
The Big Blues came out smoking to start the second half. Treon Claiborne popped a three to open the second 20 minutes, but the Rams fought back, closed the gap and took the lead. Avery Holliday came off the bench to give the Big Blues a spark and his three with 14:00 pulled BSC to within one and a basket interference call gave State a one point lead.
Shakir Dunning, dropped in two free throws and followed with an old-fashioned three point play to put the Blues up by three and a basket by Geron Tate gave the Big Blues a six point lead at which time BC head coach Richard Morgan called time.
The State lead stood at six at the final media timeout at 4:43 and Sam Ouedraogo’s putback with 3:20 to play proved to be the nail in the coffin.
The teams continued to foul and go to the free throw line the final three minutes of the game, but BC could not close the gap and State claimed bragging rights in the cross-town game.
Claiborne led the Big Blues with 18 points, Remar Brothers came off the bench to score 17, Dunning had 14 and Tate came in to score 14.
Marion led all scorers with a game-high 21 points and Ederson Exume came off the bench to score 12.
Tate snagged nine rebounds for BSC and Claiborne pulled down five.
Devin Page had five boards for the Rams.
The game was an exhibition for Bluefield State, but counted as a regular game for Bluefield College. State returns to action Thursday night at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio.
“The effort was OK the first half, we just, for some reason can’t put together two halves right now,” Morgan said. “We’ve got about nine days off now where we can regroup and get it turned around.”
Bluefield College is off until Nov. 21 when they play at Campbellsville (Ky.). The Rams are 0-1, this being their first non-exhibition game.