- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2003

LAKELAND, Fla. Bowie State has been enjoying a dream men's basketball season, and thanks to seniors Stephen Moss-Kelley and Tim Washington, the Bulldogs don't have to wake up just yet.

Moss-Kelley scored 21 points and Washington added 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead Bowie State to a 72-62 victory over Massachusetts-Lowell yesterday in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals. The Bulldogs (30-5) scored 47 points in the second half to rally from a seven-point deficit.

"It basically came down to who wanted the game more," said Bowie State coach Luke D'Alessio. "Our seniors made the plays down the stretch when we needed it. When we needed a rebound, they got it. When we needed a steal, they got it. When we needed a big basket, they got it."

Bowie State will face eight-time Division II champion Kentucky Wesleyan, a 85-60 winner over Cal Poly-Pomona, in today's first semifinal at 6 p.m. UMass-Lowell finished 28-5.

The Bulldogs stormed to a 9-2 lead early in the first half but had trouble establishing their interior game. Lowell forced 14 turnovers and several bad shots. The frustration got to Washington, who committed six turnovers, and senior center Jon Smith, who spent most of the first half on the bench with three fouls.

Moss-Kelley kept things close, scoring 16 first half points as the Bulldogs trailed 30-25 at the half.

"I saw in the first half that Tim was kind of struggling a little bit," said Moss-Kelley. "I took it on myself to get the guys going and take the pressure off."

Said D'Alessio: "They were outworking us. Our guys were getting frustrated. That might have been the worst ball movement we ever had [in the first half]. A lot of it had to do with UMass-Lowell."

In the second half, however, Bowie State began to show its power inside game, which forced the River Hawks into foul trouble. A 12-2 run in the second half turned a 39-33 deficit into a 45-41 lead, and the New Englanders were held to one field goal over a nine-minute span.

Washington gave the Bulldogs a 43-41 lead that expanded to 48-43 after a 3-pointer by Cornelius McMurray.

The Bulldogs continued to push the ball down the floor and draw contact. UMass-Lowell committed its 10th team foul with 5:20 remaining and a total of 18 in the second half. The Bulldogs attempted 30 second-half free throws and finished 25-for-34 from the line for the game.

UMass-Lowell cut the lead to 51-47 after Brunson made a layup, but Bulldogs senior guard Omarr Smith hit his first shot of the game, a 3-pointer that provided the dagger.

"I'm one of nine seniors and the captain," Smith said. "I wasn't hitting the shots early, but I kept my head up and made one when it counted."

UMass-Lowell kept it close as junior guard Elad Inbar scored the next seven points for the River Hawks, but he fouled out with 2:16 remaining. The Bulldogs hit 14 of 16 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

Inbar finished with 27 points for Lowell and senior Ty Brunson 10. McMurray finished with 11 points and eight assists for Bowie State while Smith added nine points and five assists.

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