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Lincoln University Lions Claim 2024 CIAA Food Lion Men's Basketball Tournament Championship

Lincoln University Lions Men's Basketball claims the 2024 CIAA Championship.

In a thrilling conclusion to the CIAA Tournament, held at the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, the Lincoln University Lions claimed the 2024 CIAA Men's Basketball Championship title with a narrow 54-51 victory over Fayetteville State University. This intense championship game showcased both teams' determination and skill, but Lincoln emerged victorious, cementing their place in CIAA history.

Lincoln was acknowledged as a champion in the official list of CIAA winners in 1915 with Howard and Hampton before the CIAA was officially formed.

Lincoln University Lions Claim 2024 CIAA Food Lion Men's Basketball Tournament Championship

With the victory, Lincoln also secures the CIAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. Lincoln will learn its opponent and destination on Sunday, March 10 when the pairings are announced.

The game started tightly contested, with Lincoln trailing slightly at halftime, 21-20. Their shooting in the first half was not optimal, with the team managing only 8-23 from the field. Ethan Garita (Trenton, N.J./Princeton Day School) was a bright spot for Lincoln, leading with 5 points on 2-3 shooting, alongside two rebounds and a steal. The team struggled from beyond the arc, hitting just 1 of 5 attempts, but maintained composure at the free-throw line with 3-4 shooting.

The second half saw Lincoln elevate their performance to overcome the deficit and ultimately win the championship game with a final score of 54-51. The Lions improved their shooting to 17-44 from the field and 3-9 from three-point range. 

Their aggressive play and strategic fouling paid off, allowing them to capitalize on free-throw opportunities, making 17 of 24 attempts. The team also demonstrated their defensive prowess with 24 rebounds, eight assists, six steals, and seven blocks while keeping their turnovers to a manageable 12.

Ethan Garita (Trenton, N.J./Princeton Day School) emerged as the leading scorer for Lincoln, finishing the game with 15 points, five rebounds, and three blocks, showcasing his versatility and importance to the team. Baker Cleveland played a crucial role in the victory, especially in the game's closing stages, with his clutch performance from the free-throw line, scoring 13 points and securing two steals while converting 8 of 10 free throws.

Peter Sorbet was named the CIAA Tournament MVP, a testament to his impactful play throughout the tournament. He contributed nine points, four blocks, and six rebounds in the championship game alone, shooting 4-8 from the field. His all-around performance was pivotal in Lincoln's path to victory.

"Our guys just wanted it a little bit more," Lincoln head coach Jason Armstrong said. "Our guys stayed focused and stayed in the moment. It was wonderful to our see fans be here with us this whole week and cheer us on. We came back this year and did what we wanted to do. Now, we get ready for the NCAA Tournament. Shout out to Fayetteville State. They battled to the end and never gave up."

The victory marks a significant achievement for the Lincoln Lions, crowning them as the 2024 CIAA Men's Basketball Champions. This win highlights the team's talent and hard squad throughout the season and solidifies their legacy within the conference. 

The contributions of players like Ethan Garita (Trenton, N.J./Princeton Day School), Baker Cleveland, and Peter Sorbet were instrumental in this championship run, showcasing the depth and resilience of the Lincoln University basketball program.

2024 Food Lion Men's Championship MVP (Lincoln University)

  • Ethan Garita (Trenton, N.J./Princeton Day School) (Lincoln University)

2024 CIAA Men's Tournament MVP (Lincoln University) 

  • Peter Sorber (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) (Lincoln University) 

2024 CIAA Men's All-Tournament Team

  • Jordan Hinds, Guard (Bluefield State University)
  • Reggie Raynoe, Guard (Elizabeth City State University)
  • Jailen Williams, Forward (Claflin University)
  • Tremere Brown, Forward (Virginia State University)
  • Alston Sherrell, Center (Johnson C. Smith University)
  • Kalem Coleman, Forward (Fayetteville State University)
  • Peter Sorber (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic), Center (Lincoln University)
  • Jaylen Alston, Forward (Winston-Salem State University) 
  • Tairell Fletcher, Guard (Fayetteville State University)
  • Reggie Hudson (Bronx, NY/St. Raymond's), Guard (Lincoln University) 

2024 CIAA Men's Team Sportsmanship Award

  • Johnson C. Smith University