Less than two months after clinching the championship, CIAA Basketball will take on four teams who look like contenders in two games on Thursday in Virginia.
Richmond is the scene where two top 25 programs meet for second place. 19 Virginia Union Host No. 24 Claflin at the historic Barco-Stevens Gymnasium. This is VUU’s meeting rookie of his CIAA Bluebloods and Claflin. Both teams could need a win to maintain their ranks and build hopes for an overall D2 NCAA Tournament bid if they fail to win the CIAA Tournament.VUU gave Catawba 12 points on Tuesday However, they entered the game with a 28-game home winning streak.
VUU forward Robert Osbourne currently leads the league in scoring with 19 points per game and is second in rebounding with 8.9 per game. Sophomore Raemaad Wright leads the league with just over 10 rebounds per game. Claflin is now his second in the CIAA in scoring just short of his 82 points per game.
A few miles away in Etrick, Virginia, another matchup of the double-digit winning team will take center stage. Virginia (10-3) will host Winston-Salem (10-2) in Part 2 of HBCUGo’s doubleheader.The game is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m.
VSU gave Claflin their first loss of the season a few weeks ago, featuring two of the league’s top scorers. Terrence Hunter-Whitfield is the second tallest in the CIAA with 18.1 points per game he is 6’6 which is a matchup problem for most of his CIAA wings. He also leads the league with his 2.4 stolen bases per game. His wingmate BJ Fitzgerald can also score and defend at a high level and he is one long player who can be a headache at this level.
The WSSU has four of the league’s top 17 scorers, led by former North Carolina big man Jaron Gibson, who averages 14.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Hitting low for Gibson is Jaylen Alston, averaging 13 points and he’s just under eight rebounds despite his smaller size at 6’4. Also featured are his sophomore pairs of excellent redshirts, Isaac Persson (11.9 points average) and Samagethir (11.8 points average), forming his one of the best guards in the CIAA tandem. .
Three other matchups are in the CIAA basketball record, with the Southern team leading the North. Livingston (6-6) heading to Elizabeth City (5-8), St. Aug (4-7) moving to Bowie (4-11), Fayetteville (7-8, 2-1) moves to Lincoln (6-8, 1-2).