# 7 Shaw Downs #10 Indiana (PA) 62-54 To Advance to Second Round of NCAA Tournament
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Karron Johnson had 17 points as Shaw downed Indiana (PA) 62-54 in the opening round of the Division II Men's Basketball Tournament held at West Liberty University.
With the win, the seventh-ranked Bears improve to 26-3 on the season. They are the second seed in the Atlantic Region. Indiana (PA), the seventh seed in the region and the tenth-ranked team in the country, falls to 23-6.
The Bears led throughout most of the game, but allowed the Crimson Hawks to tie the game with just under two minutes left in the game. Junius Chaney hit a pair of free throws, then Johnson sank a three from the top of the key to give the Bears a five-point lead.
"Karron can shoot the basketball," said Shaw head coach Cleo Hill, Jr. "We've asked him to move inside and he's sacrificed and done that, but today he was able to do a bit of both."
"We put up shots like that in practice," Johnson said. "That's what practice is for. After we fell short in the CIAA Tournament, I looked to find my stroke and get more involved."
Indiana grabbed a lead on the first shot of the game, but Shaw scored nine straight to take a six-point lead in the opening minutes of the game. But the Crimson Hawks never let the Bears get out of sight and continually fought their way back into the game, tying the game four times - all in the second half.
"We didn't think we'd blow a top ten team out of the gym," said Hill.
Shaw shot 51.1 percent on the game while the Crimson Hawks hit only 40.4 percent of their shots. The Bears outrebounded Indiana 33-25. Each team committed only ten turnovers.
The key for Shaw may have been the defensive play of Derrick Hunter and Devon Mclendon, who were given the daunting task of shutting down Indiana's leading scorer Ashton Smith. Smith, who averages 18.2 points per game, was held to only 11.
The 62 points is the fewest in a win for Shaw this season, and they played a deliberate half-court offense that often did not get off a shot until the waning seconds on the shot clock.
"Our first option is to get the easiest shot possible," said Hill. "If that's a layup off the fast break, or an outside shot from one of our shooters, that's fine, but we're comfortable running sets."
The Crimson Hawks opened the game with a three for the early lead, but the Bears scored nine straight to take a 9-3 lead with 15:24 left in the first. Malik Alvin hit a pair of free throws with 12:05 showing on the clock that gave the Bears a 15-5 lead.
With 5:42 left in the half, Curtis Hines hit a pair of free throws to give the Bears a 28-21 lead, but Indiana (PA) would score the final six points of the half to cut the Shaw lead to two, 28-26.
"I talked to my guards at the half," Hill said. "I thought we had some broken plays in the first half where we didn't get off an offensive play at all."
In the second, the Bears and Crimson Hawks seemed to be in a cycle that repeated throughout the half. Shaw would build a lead of around seven points, and Indiana would battle back to cut the lead to two, or tie the game.
With 18:15 left in the game, Josh Wiegand hit a jumper for Indiana that tied the score at 30. The Bears then scored six straight, with buckets from Chaney, Johnson and Alvin.
The Crimson Hawks battled back, trimming the Shaw lead to only one before the Bears stretched the advantage back to five on an off-balance jumper from Tony Smith along the baseline.
Indiana scored the next five points for the next tie, then the Bears scored seven straight, taking a 47-40 lead on a Mclendon free throw.
Yet again, the Crimson Hawks scored seven straight to tie the score for the fourth time, but the Bears closed out the game with an eight-point run, including Johnson's critical three, ending with the 62-54 victory.
In addition to his 17 points, Johnson had three assists and three rebounds. Chaney finished the game with 12 points while Tony Smit had 11. Chaney led the Bears with eight rebounds and Smith had three assists.
Julian Sanders led the Crimson Hawks with 17 points. Ashton Smith was the only other Indiana (PA) player with double digits. Anthony Wells and Ashton Smith each had four rebounds to lead the Hawks.
With the win, Shaw advances to the second round where they will take on Wheeling Jesuit, who downed Charleston (WV) today. The Cardinals, the number six seed in the region, are 22-9. Game time is 5:00 p.m. Sunday.