X-Factors: Five players to watch in the CIAA Tournament

Lamar Kearse shot 49 percent from three-point range in the regular season.

Cameron Knox, Bowie State

The newly-minted CIAA Player of The Year is this year’s version of Allen Iverson. He shoots alot (he shot a league-high 393 shots in the regular season) and doesn’t pass much, as he averaged just under two assists per game. But just like the ’01 Sixers, his team is going to need every point if it wants to win its second championship in three years.

Hakeem Jackson, Livingstone

Jackson may be second on Livingstone in scoring, but he’s arguably the most important player on the team. When he scores, Livingstone wins. Jackson scored 17.3 points and shot 61 percent from the line in Livingstone’s wins. Those numbers dropped to 11 points and 49 percent in the team’s losses. The Blue Bears are 6-1 when Jackson scores 20 or more points,

Anthony Gaskins, St. Aug 

With all due respect to Raheem  Joliffe, the CIAA’s leading scorer, Gaskins is the key to St. Aug scoring some upsets. The junior guard has gotten better as the year has gone on, increasing his average from 8 to 18 points per game from November to February. Gaskins scored 17 points per game in St. Aug’s 11 losses compared to 12 points per game in the team’s wins. If he gets hot, St. Aug could make a nice little tourney run.

Lamar Kearse, Virginia State

The former NJIT player has had a big year for Virginia State, helping the team back into the CIAA Northern Division race for the first time in a long time. His scoring numbers dropped off in conference play, but he has a knack for hitting the big shot when his team needs it the most. A 49 percent three-point shooter, if he gets hot, watch out.

Marquez Jones, Winston-Salem State

A year ago, Jones was the CIAA’s leading scorer, pouring in 20 points per game on the CIAA runner up. This year he’s averaging just 13.5 ppg, with just 13 starts in 23 games. He’s also playing significantly less minutes (25.8 compared to 33.4 in 2014) and shooting at a lower percentage (37.5 compared to 45.5) than he did as a junior.

Recently, however, Jones has shown signs of coming out of his slump. Jones has scored at least 15 points in each of WSSU’s last four games. WSSU is 12-4 when Jones scores in double-figures this season, and just 3-4 when he doesn’t.

Jones also has to channel his emotions, as he seems to go from zero to 100 on the court real quick.

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