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Down the stretch they come

With a little over two weeks left in the CIAA and SIAC regular seasons, here’s how their races are shaping up.

Virginia State (4-1) has won three straight to take the lead in the men’s North Division and Winston-Salem State (4-1) has a four-game win streak to lead in the South. VSU hosts Elizabeth City State Monday and then hosts Chowan on Wednesday. WSSU plays at St. Augustine’s Saturday and hosts Shaw on Wednesday.

For the women, Virginia Union (5-1) and Shaw (5-0) lead the North and South respectively. VUU’s Kiana Johnson continues to lead the CIAA and all of Div. II in scoring at 26.6 points per game. She averaged 31.5 points in two wins this past week.

Claflin knocked off men’s E. Div. leader Benedict in overtime Saturday. Benedict (9-3) is still on top of the division with Morehouse (6-4) second. Stillman (9-1) continues to lead the West over Miles (11-3). Stillman and Miles will tangle Thursday in Tuscaloosa, Al. Miles then plays at Clark Atlanta Saturday while Tuskegee plays at Stillman. Benedict hosts Paine ( Sat.) and is at Morehouse ( Wed).

The Claflin women (8-4) knocked off the nationally-ranked (No. 17) Benedict women Saturday (58-47). Benedict (20-2) is now tied with Albany State at 10-2 on top of the E. Div. race. Kentucky State (7-2) has a four-game lead over Miles (7-6) in the West. KSU hosts LeMoyne-Owen Thursday.

The SWAC and MEAC play regular season ball thru early March. Here’s how their races look.

Texas Southern moved to 9-0 in league play after two wins in Alabama Saturday and Monday. The Tigers have a two-game lead over Southern and Jackson State (both 7-2). TSU plays at crosstown Prairie View on Saturday. Southern plays at Grambling State Saturday and then has a second-place showdown at JSU Monday. The Tigers will try to keep the ball rolling with trips into Alabama this week at Alabama State Saturday and at Alabama A&M Monday. The TSU women (8-1) dropped their first conference game Saturday to Alabama State (57-51). ASU is now tied with Southern at 7-2, a game behind TSU. ASU plays at Arkansas-Pine Bluff Monday.

The Hampton men (8-1) knocked off Norfolk State (6-2) Saturday (86-76) to take over sole possession of first place in the MEAC. Senior guard Reginald Johnson’s 29 points led four Pirates in double-figures in the win. Johnson’s 17.8 points per game is second to Howard junior James Daniel III’s 27.5 ppg. in the league scoring race. Daniel is the top scorer in Div. I basketball. Norfolk State (6-2) is tied with South Carolina State behind Hampton. The Pirates hit the road this week playing at Maryland-Eastern Shore Saturday and Monday at Howard. Norfolk State plays the same two teams on opposite days while SCSU hosts Coppin State (Sat.) and Morgan State (Mon.).

The Hampton women (7-1) have a similar one game lead in the MEAC women’s race over Bethune-Cookman and Morgan State, who are both 6-2. The Lady Pirates got by Norfolk State Saturday 72-61 behind 24 points from the league’s second best scorer, 5-9 junior guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas (19.8 ppg.). Victoria Gonzalez of Howard is the league’s top women scorer at 20.7 ppg. B-CU hosts Delaware State Saturday.

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