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Friday, November 9, 2012

BOWIE STATE MEN'S BASKETBALL READY FOR SATURDAY'S SEASON OPENER AT SHEPHERD


BOWIE STATE READY FOR SATURDAY’S SEASON OPENER AT SHEPHERD

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BOWIE, Md. – The Bowie State University men’s basketball team makes its season debut on Saturday, Nov. 10, on the road at Shepherd University in the nightcap of the Clarion Hotel Classic. Tip time for the Bulldogs and Rams is set for 7 pm in Shepherd’s Butcher Athletic Center.

The Bulldogs return eight players from last season’s squad which finished 22-6 overall and reached the CIAA Tournament semifinals. Bowie State returns only one starter and welcomes four newcomers to the program.

Last season, the Bulldogs ranked 8th nationally in Division II in blocks (5.3 per game), 9th in rebound margin (7.3) and 33rd in scoring (78.3). Pressure defense, uptempo offense and the teams’ ability to rebound have been trademarks of the Bulldogs under head coach Darrell Brooks, who is in his fourth season.

“We’re excited and ready to get started on Saturday,” Brooks said. “Even though we’ve only played Shepherd twice since I arrived at BSU (both times on their floor), it has been a dog fight and that’s what we’re expecting tomorrow night”. As for the Alderson-Broaddus game on Sunday (4 pm), Brooks said “This will be first time playing them … They are so well coached and we’ll just have to be prepared for them and everything they bring”.  

The Bulldogs are embarking on a new era of sorts as a number of key starters finished their collegiate eligibility in 2012. Center Travis Hyman, who led the CIAA in blocks for two seasons and was the 2012 CIAA Defensive Player of the Year departed along with All-CIAA First Team selection and guard Darren Clark, who was the team’s leading scorer. Also departed from the program is former starting guard Jay Gavin, who was the team’s third-leading scorer.

On a positive note, the Bulldogs return eight players from last season including All-CIAA First Team selection and senior forward Byron Westmorland, who averaged 14.6 points and 4.7 rebounds. Senior Bryan Wilson, who made six starts last season, will become a full-time starter after averaging 6.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Also returning for the Bulldogs will be senior forwards Dameatric Scott (6-7, 215) and Najee White (6-8, 238). Westmorland and Scott were voted to the 2012-2013 All-CIAA preseason team.

Bowie State holds a 5-1 series advantage over the Shepherd Rams which includes a thrilling 78-75 victory last season in the final game of the Clarion Hotel Classic.

The Rams return four starters from last year’s squad including preseason All-American player Chad Moore, who scored 20 points and added 11 rebounds against the Bulldogs last season. Other top players for the Rams include Brantley Osborne and Sidney McCray. Shepherd finished the 2011-2012 season with an overall record of 14-14.

The Bulldogs are picked to finish first in the CIAA Northern Division while the Rams are projected to finish sixth in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

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