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2022-2023 Basketball

HBCU basketball comes to Harlem

A trio of Div. II HBCU basketball teams will play in the heart of historic Harlem, New York in upper Manhattan in a basketball showcase Saturday.

CIAA members Winston-Salem State University, Bowie State University and Lincoln (Pa.) University will take their men’s squads to the area that birthed the famed Harlem Renaissance. They will play in three afternoon and evening matches against tough NCAA Div. II teams from the Northeast in what is dubbed the “Harlem Renaissance Classic.”

Thomas Jefferson University out of Philadelphia and Felician University of Rutherford, New Jersey play in the Central Atlantic Athletic Conference (CAAC). St. Thomas Aquinas College, from Sparkill, NY in the New York City metro area, competes in the East Coast Conference (ECC)..

The games

The games will be played at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. at the Nat Holman Gym at the City College of New York (CCNY) in Harlem.

The main campus of CCNY is comprised of 36 tree-lined acres running from 133rd Street to 140th Street in Harlem, bounded by St. Nicholas Terrance and St. Nicholas Park on the east and Amsterdam Avenue on the west.

The corner of 125th and Lenox Avenue (which later became known as Malcolm X Boulevard) was considered the heart of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s. The great poet Langston Hughes called Lennox Avenue “Harlem’s heartbeat.” The street later also became the sight of many public speeches by Malcolm X.

HBCU basketball: WSSU vs. Thomas Jefferson

It will be Rams vs. Rams when WSSU (2-1) faces Thomas Jefferson (2-1) in the 3 p.m. opener.

Jefferson finished 21-6 overall last season and 16-2 in the CAAC. TJU lost to Dominican (87-84 in OT) in the CAAC Tournament semifinals. Jimmy Reilly is in his first year leading Felician after 15 years as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Herb Magee. Erik Temko is the top scorer at 17.7 points per game.

WSSU Winston-Salem KC Shaw HBCU Basketball
Winston-Salem State is 2-1 this season.

WSSU is coached by fourth-year head man Cleo Hill Jr. The Rams finished 19-7 last season, 12-3 in the CIAA and lost to Virginia Union (71-59) in the CIAA Tournament semifinals.

Six-four junior guard Jaylen Alston is leading the Rams in scoring (17.1 ppg.) and rebounding (10.5 rpg.)

HBCU basketball: Bowie State vs. Felician

Bowie State (1-2) takes the court at 5 p.m. Saturday vs. Felician (2-1).

Felician finished 19-10 last season, 11-6 in the CAAC. The Golden Falcons out of Rutherford, New Jersey, defeated favored Dominican (65-64) to win the CAAC tournament. They made the East Region playoff field but lost in the first round to Bentley (95-63). Head coach Ivan Lewis leads Felician. Six-two redshirt senior guard Jaylen Colon leads the Falcons at 17.7 points per game.

BSU was 8-21 last season under now 11th-year head coach Darrell Brooks. The Bulldogs finished 8-11 in CIAA play. BSU has four players averaging in double-digits led by 16.3 points per game by 6-1 junior point guard Mark Bradshaw.

HBCU basketball: Lincoln vs. Thomas Aquinas

Lincoln (2-1) plays Thomas Aquinas College (2-1) in 7 p.m. finale.

Aquinas finished 28-5 in the 2021-22 season after winning the ECC regular season and tournament titles. The Spartans season ended with a loss to Bentley (82-75) in the East Region finals. They were 25th last season in the final NABC NCAA Div. II national poll. Tobin Anderson, who took Aquinas to seven straight NCAA Div. II appearances, left to become head coach at Div. I Farleigh Dickinson. Former assistant Matt Capel is the new head coach.

DeVante Jamison leads the Spaartans’ scoring attack at 16.0 points per game. Six-seven freshman James Patterson leads STAC rebounders at 8.7 per game.

James Armstrong is Lincoln’s interim head coach. The Lions were 18-5 overall, 11-5 in CIAA play a season ago under head coach Corey Lowery. Six-foot senior point guard Korey Williams is averaging 27.0 points per game thru the Lions’ three games.

HBCU basketball comes to Harlem
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