By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Will Concord-Bluefield State round two equal the down-to-the-wire excitement of their first meeting?
Hoops fans will find out tonight when the Big Blues (3-9) host the Mountain Lions (5-4) at 6 p.m. in the Ned Shott Gymnasium.
Concord won the first meeting of the county rivals 81-78 on Nov. 18 in Athens. A.J. Williams authored the game-winner on a trey from just across midcourt that bounced off the glass and into the hoop at the buzzer.
“When it left my hand I knew it was going to go off the glass, but I just got lucky. Sometimes luck is on your side,” Williams told Daily Telegraph sportswriter Bob Redd after the game.
Williams came off the bench to lead all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Mike Boyd had 19 points and five assists, while Terry Hopewell blocked six BSC shots.
The Big Blues got 21 points from Treon Claiborne and 14 rebounds from Sam Ouedraogo. Remar Brothers and Geron Tate had 18 points each.
The Athenians hold a 52-34 all-time lead in the series, including the last five straight.
Concord has won two of its last three games, losing to West Virginia Wesleyan 81-65 in its most recent outing, on Dec. 7 in Buckhannon. Cam Shannon led CU in that game with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Hopewell is the leading shot blocker in the Mountain East Conference with 15 so far. As a team, the Mountain Lions have the league’s best free-throw conversion rate, 75.5 percent.
Boyd has been a nemesis against Bluefield State. In five career games, he is averaging 14.4 points, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
This season, Boyd leads CU with a 52.6 percent success rate on his field goals, 4.7 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 44 free throws made, and 33.8 minutes played per game.
Bluefield State has lost three games in a row, counting Saturday’s 99-73 exhibition game loss to Longwood University in Farmville, Va.
Brothers scored at the rate of a point per minute in that game, chalking up 23 points. Claiborne had 17 points and Avery Holliday concluded with 15.
Brothers had a pair of three-point plays and Holliday sank two 3-pointers to pull BSC within five, 39-34, at halftime.
The Big Blues were 12 for 34 from 3-point range and made 40 percent of their overall field goal attempts (23 of 57). Longwood made 61 percent of their floor shots against BSC and outscored their visitors 52-18 in the paint. Twelve BSC turnovers produced 20 points by the Lancers.
Shakir Dunning and Claiborne have been taking about 40 percent of Bluefield State’s shots from the field. Dunning boasts a 22.2 point average and Claiborne scores 16.5 points and grabs 7.75 rebounds on average. Ouedraogo averages a whopping 13.8 rebounds per game.
The Big Blues have averaged 81.8 points per outing but have given up 91 per game. BSC has made 38.9 percent of its free throw tries and opponents have been successful on 48.2 percent of their floor shots.
Concord has been scoring 76 points on average and has been allowing an identical 76. Freshman B.J. Hamlet is the top point producer with an average of 15.2 points per game. Nick Moyer is the leading CU rebounder with 5.1 per game. Boyd and Moyer each have 11 steals.
After tonight’s game, Concord does not play again for 19 days, returning to competition on Jan. 4 at nationally-ranked No. 1 West Liberty.
Bluefield State will host West Virginia State on Wednesday evening before beginning a long year-end break, with their next game on Jan. 15 at Oakland City (Ind.) University.
— Contact Tom Bone at