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Thursday, December 13, 2012



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bowie State University surrendered a 17-point second half lead but scored the final four points, which included a buzzer-beating, go-ahead layup by senior Najee White to lift the Bulldogs to a thrilling, 73-71 non-conference road victory. With the win, Bowie State has won four of its last five games to set their record at 4-5 to end the first half of the season.

The Bulldogs were once again paced by senior Byron Westmorland with 23 points. White recorded his second career-double, adding a game and career-high 15 rebounds.  Fellow senior Dameatric Scott contributed 16 points and junior Ray Gatling accounted for nine points to go along with a personal season-high four rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Leading the way for the Firebirds were D’Angelo Johnson, Ziad Ashaway and Florent Pontens with 16, 13 and 11 points respectively. Ashaway tied for team-high rebound honors (seven) with Keith Brooks.

“We’re really a work in progress and we always expect things to be hard on the road”, said a rather relieved fourth-year head coach Darryl Brooks. Of Bowie State’s nine games so far this season, eight have been on the road. “We had a comfortable lead early and played well in the first half. However, in the second half, we had a let done defensively and on the glass allowing them to get back into the game.

UDC (1-7) held a four point advantage twice early in the game until Westmorland drilled a deep 3-pointer followed by a steal and layup by Scott gave the Bulldogs a 17-13 advantage, forcing a Firebirds timeout.

The Firebirds charged back to regain the lead at 22-20 on a traditional 3-point play by Johnson at the 9:55 mark. The lead would change hands 11 times in the first half but the Bulldogs closed out the final 4:06 with a 15-2 run and a 45-32 lead at intermission.

Bowie State shot 51.4 percent in the first half on 18-of-35 shooting, which included 7-of-15 beyond the arc.  The Bulldogs defense held the University of D.C. to 12-of-36 shooting (33.3 percent) in the first period.

UDC made a big run to pull within three (53-51) at the 14:19 mark of the second half, but the Bulldogs countered with back-to-back triples by Westmorland and a White layup gave Bowie State a little breathing room at 61-51.

A 3-point bucket by UDC’s Michael Terry closed the Firebirds deficit to just two (67-65) and a breakaway dunk by Johnson knotted the game at 67-67 with 7:11 remaining. Brooks made one of two free throws to give the Firebirds their first lead since 30-29 in the first half.

A pair of free throws by Bowie State’s Gatling created the games third and final tie, this time at 71-71 with 1:44 left in regulation.

BSU’s Westmorland blocked a sure Firebirds’ layup by Ashaway, setting up one last opportunity for the Bulldogs. With .2 seconds to play Bowie State’s Carlos Smith had his short jumper blocked but the rebound and stick back by White lifted the Bulldogs to the victory. 

Bowie State will be idle for the next 21 days before returning to action Thursday (January 3) opening conference play at home against Livingstone College. Tip time for the Blue Bears and Bulldogs is 7:30 pm in BSU’s A.C. Jordan Arena.

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