By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The nickname of the athletic teams at Alderson-Broaddus College is the Battlers. However, Tuesday night at Ned Shott Gymnasium, it was the Bluefield State College Big Blues who were the battlers, fighting their way back throughout the game several times before falling 70-65 to Alderson-Broaddus in WVIAC play.
“The guys fought, they played hard, they battled,” said BSC head coach Jamaal Jackson. “We ran our offense a little bit better. They (Alderson-Broaddus) went to a zone and that hurt us, we were 3-of-15 from the three for the game, that hurt us.”
Two of those threes, one by Johnny Uhegwu and one by Gary Martin kept the Big Blues within striking distance early on. AB pulled away, went up by seven, only to see the Big Blues battle back.
A driving one-handed dunk by Treon Claiborne brought State to within one and moments later another three by Uhegwu tied the game at 21. His floater in the lane a minute later gave BSC its first lead and his bucket from the win put the Blues up 25-22.
Back and forth the lead would go before AB again pulled away. Tied at 28, the Battlers went on a 12-6 run the final three minutes of the half and led 40-34 at the intermission.
Bluefield State shot 39 percent in the first 20 minutes compared to Alderson-Broaddus making 47 percent of its shots. AB held a 25-15 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over 10 times, as opposed to six by the Big Blues.
BSC remained in striking distance until Alderson-Broaddus opened an 11 point lead on several occasions during the second half. Not to be counted out, the Big Blues responded.
State came to within two on Vincent Rogers’ bucket with just over 13 minutes left, but the visitors increased their lead back to 11 when the Big Blues called time with 8:07 to go in the game.
Down by nine with 4:18 to play, the Big Blues made their final push of the evening. Claiborne’s layup with 2:01 to go made it 68-61. A State steal and two free throws by Avery Holliday with 1:42 to go pulled the Big Blues to within five at 68-63. It got even closer on Claiborne’s basket with 50 seconds remaining, three points, 68-65.
AB sealed the game when O’Dell Eargle put one through the hoop from inside the paint with 19 seconds left to make it 70-65.
Claiborne slammed one home for the Big Blues with two seconds on the clock, but it was too little too late and Alderson-Broaddus headed back to Philippi with the victory.
“We played excellent defense,” Jackson said. “I was really proud of them defensively, but they got offensive rebounds. We’d play 25, 30 seconds of excellent defense, they’d take a shot, got an offensive rebound and put it back in. That’s why their field goal percentage was so high.”
AB shot 45 percent for the game and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.
Claiborne came off the bench to lead State with 20 points. Rogers and Uhegwu each added 19. Samuel Ouedraogo had seven rebounds and Rogers grabbed six boards.
Kurklin Bohanon led Alderson-Broaddus with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Eargle had 13 points and eight boards, while Roy Brown had 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Big Blues are off until Jan. 5 when they host Concord.