LeMoyne-Owen Makes Surprising Comeback to Snap Virginia Union’s Unbeaten Season
Photo by: LeMoyne-Owen College Athletics
By: Colin Royal, Staff Writer
In the beginning of the game, no one could’ve foresaw this outcome. Lemoyne-Owen was able to upset undefeated Virginia Union (5-0) 66-62, handing them their first loss of the season.
The second half of the Virginia Union Lemoyne-Owen game ended with a tough battle. Within the last eight minutes there were three different lead changes. Neither team could truly hold their lead, and this led to an extremely competitive game.
The game started with an 8-0 run by Union. They were punishing Lemoyne-Owen inside, and there seemed to be no answer for Union’s starting center Raemaad Wright. Wright’s output was consistent throughout the game as he finished as Union’s leading scorer with 18 points on 70% shooting from the field and a perfect 4-4 from the line.
Wright’s early performance led Union to a convincing lead. This lead would grow to 15 points towards the end of the first half, which gave Lemoyne-Owen a huge deficit to fight back from.
Union’s defense coupled with their hot offensive performances, seemed to be too much for Lemoyne; however, with 12 minutes left in the second half Lemoyne was finally able to chip away at Union’s lead. With 12 minutes left, Lemoyne-Owen was able to cut the lead to six points. This was the first time since the first half that Lemoyne hadn’t trailed Union by at least eight points.
This shift was exactly what Lemoyne-Owen needed, and it led to them going on a huge late game run. In the last minutes of the game, they would outscore Union 9-2. During this run, Lemoyne-Owen guard Jabez Smith had an electric two handed slam that invigorated his team while seemingly taking the energy out of the opposing team.
Union wasn’t going away so easily as senior guard Keleaf Tate led the charge to combat Lemoyne-Owen’s run. Tate drove past two defenders and made a tough banked floater. Next possession, he came down the court and hit a contested spot-up three.
Tate scored six straight points for Union, but it wasn’t enough to keep Lemoyne-Owen at bay. In the end, Lemoyne-Owen was able to hold on to their slim lead.
Shortly after shaking hands, the team gathered in the middle of the court and got into a dancing circle. A few players showed their best off-court moves, and head coach, Bonzi Wells, also put on a little show himself.
“HBCU is everything. Just being able to come here and play against teams from the CIAA that you would never see on your normal schedule,” Wells said, “This last game that we won against a tough Virginia Union team is gonna be something that we can build on throughout the rest of our season.”
Copy Edited by Miles Johnson