BLUEFIELD, Va – The Alice Lloyd College Eagles traveled to Bluefield, Virginia to face the home-standing Bluefield College Rams in the championship game of the Mideast Regional Tournament. In a contest that was decided in the last ten minutes, the Rams pulled out a 107-98 victory.
In the opening half, the Eagles had four different players hit buckets as they jumped out to a 10-4 lead. BC bounced back with a 13-6 spurt, and the home squad would take the lead (17-16) on two free throws from Niquan Cousins at 12:29. ALC would get 19 first-half points from sophomore forward Chance Cornett but watched the hosts extend their advantage to as much as 10 points (45-35). Bluefield would settle for a 51-44 advantage at intermission.
In the second half, ALC would answer the bell as the guard tandem of freshman Timmy Dalton (10) and sophomore Blake Smith (5), would account for all the points in a 15-5 burst. The Eagles now led 59-56 with 15:32 remaining, but they were not finished. When junior forward Dondre Warren added a free throw and then an offensive rebound bucket one minute later, he capped off the 18-5 run. Alice Lloyd fans were delighted to see their squad with a 62-56 lead, and they now had to hold it for the final 13:54.
The Rams are a solid team and they responded before their home crowd. Guard Jorge Concepcion III would score 9 points over the next two minutes to help his squad rally. When BC regained the advantage at 65-64 with just over eleven minutes on the clock, few realized they would not relinquish it again.
ALC would remain within striking distance and two Dalton free throws with 4:51 remaining to play would keep the visitors within four (82-78). Unfortunately, Bluefield would answer with seven consecutive points to put the game on ice.
For Alice Lloyd (16-13), four players would reach double digits. Cornett would finish with a career-high of 34 points. He would sink 10-16 field goals, 5-10 three-pointers, and 9-10 free throws for his total. Smith and Dalton would swish 7-11 and 7-13 of their attempts to finish with 22 and 21 points respectively while junior forward Dondre Warren chipped in with 11 points and a team-high 8 rebounds. Senior guard Austin Crisp led in assists with 5 while Dalton had 2 steals.
The Eagles finished the night shooting 48.5% (32-66) from the field including 38.9% (7-18) from behind the arc. They sank 73% (27-37) from the charity stripe and added 38 rebounds, 14 assists, and 4 steals.
BC (17-13) was led by Cousins and Concepcion III with 29 and 22 points respectively. Their squad shot 55.2% (37-67) from the field and 45% (9-20) from deep. They finished at 72.7% (24-33) from the charity stripe and added 32 rebounds, 21 assists, and 7 steals.
With the victory, Bluefield now advances to the 2018 NCCAA National Championship beginning March 14th at Lake Winona, Indiana.