Uniontown, PA – Sophomore forward Edmen Stewart’s 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks led the way for the Ambassador’s narrow victory Saturday night at the 2019 USCAA Men’s DI Basketball National Championships.
An 8-1 run in the first four minutes set the pace for Oakwood before a three-pointer from USCAA All-American Korey Williams woke up the Bluefield State College offense. The Big Blues would chip away slowly down the stretch, with the Ambassadors not scoring a field goal in the final 2:40. Oakwood entered halftime with a 26-22 lead, Bluefield staying in the game despite 32% shooting from the field and only 13% from beyond the arc.
A Joseph Adeyemo dunk two minutes into the second half gave Bluefield their first lead of the game. There were four lead changes over the next four minutes until the 15 minute mark when Bluefield went on a run. The largest lead the Big Blues had was six points, but they kept that lead until just under 7 minutes remaining when Stewart (Tournament MVP) made two free throws. Stewart was clutch throughout the game, making 7 of 8 from the charity stripe.
Bluefield State would quickly take back the advantage, keeping the lead until the :56 second mark when Xavier Jones tied the game on a layup. All-Tournament selection Korey Williams was fouled on the ensuing possession and made one of two from the line to retake the lead for Bluefield. Ambassador All-Tournament selection Talik Talton followed up on a missed layup on the other end to take the score to 58-57 in Oakwood’s advantage. Bluefield failed at the following two possessions to score, giving Oakwood their fourth institutional title and their second in the last four years.
Williams was the leading scorer for Bluefield State, knocking down 21. He also had four steals in the contest. For the Ambassadors, Mike Middleton was the second leading scorer, adding 11 points and 3 assists to the championship effort. As a team, Oakwood shot 40% in the game, with 14 points coming off the bench.
Edmen Stewart | So. Forward | Oakwood University
Nico Rojas | Jr. Forward | Florida National University
Nicc Johnson | Sr. Guard | Bryant & Stratton College – Buffalo
Shawn Duhon | Sr. Forward | Bluefield State College
Talik Talton | Jr. Forward | Oakwood University
Korey Williams | Sr. Guard | Bluefield State College