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Men's Basketball Opening Round - Day 1 < All News
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

HAMPTON ADVANCE TO QUARTERFINALS WITH WIN OVER MORGAN STATE

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 6, 2012 – Jasper Williams scored a season-high 20 points off the Hampton bench to propel the No. 8 seed Pirates to a 69-65 win over No. 9 Morgan State on Tuesday in the first round of the MEAC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The back-and-forth affair, which was a rematch of the 2011 MEAC Tournament championship game, included 14 ties and 16 lead-changes. Williams’ fifth and final 3-pointer of the game gave Hampton (11-20) the lead for good with 2:22 remaining.

Kevin Thompson’s three-point play with 2:40 left, following an offensive rebound, gave the Bears (9-20) their final lead of the game. But Williams – who scored 14 second-half points – buried a trey from the right wing on Hampton’s next possession to give the Pirates a 57-55 edge. Williams then helped force a MSU turnover on the other end, and Darrion Pellum hit 1-of-2 free throws to extend the advantage to three. The Bears committed another turnover, leading to a Christopher Tolson layup that pushed the Hampton lead to 60-55.

Hampton hit 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the final minute to finish off the Bears. Pellum, who scored a game-high 23 points, hit 7-of-8 from the charity stripe down the stretch and finished 16-of-20 from the line for the game.

The Bears couldn’t get closer than the final margin down the stretch.

Hampton held a 26-24 lead after an uneven first half. The Pirates held Morgan State to just 4-of-32 shooting (12.5 percent) in the half, and the Bears did not make a two-point field goal until Thompson’s layup with 6:25 left in the first half. But the Bears used their size advantage to grab 11 offensive rebounds. That enabled the Bears to make a living at the free throw line, where they made 14-of-20 in the opening period to remain close despite their struggles from the floor.

But Williams was the story in the second half. He hit 4-of-6 from long range after the intermission, including three in a two-minute stretch midway through the stanza. Williams, who had not scored in double figures since pouring in 14 in a Dec. 30 win over Longwood, finished 6-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-7 from behind the arc.

“I told Jasper yesterday that he could end up being the key to the game,” Hampton coach Edward Joyner Jr. said. “He hasn’t been shooting well in games, but it’s not for a lack of effort. We stay on him all the time to keep shooting.”

“I knew I had to stay ready for when my time was called, and that came today,” Williams said.

Hampton also got 12 points and 10 rebounds from Tolson. The Pirates’ defense was solid throughout, holding MSU to 28.6 percent shooting for the game (18-of-63). Hampton also blocked five shots – four by Danny Agbelese – and was credited with nine steals, five by Tolson. Pellum finished 3-of-12 from the floor, but 16-of-20 from the foul line.

“Pellum is the leading scorer in this conference for a reason,” MSU head coach Todd Bozeman said. “He’s going to get his points, you just hope someone else doesn’t step up and hurt you. But Williams gave them some big minutes, especially in the second half.”

Aric Brooks scored 18 points to lead MSU, including 15 in the second half. Thompson capped his stellar Bears’ career with a double-double of 12 points and 17 rebounds, helping MSU to a 48-35 rebounding edge.

CALVIN LEADS HOWARD PAST NORTH CAROLINA A&T, 51-50

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Calvin Thompson’s lay-up with 48 seconds remaining and two Mike Phillips free throws with 15 seconds to play lifted Howard to a 51-50 victory over North Carolina A&T Tuesday in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament in Joel Coliseum.

The tenth-seeded Bison (10-20) won their first tournament game since 2002 and will face second-seeded Norfolk State in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 8 p.m.

North Carolina A&T’s season concludes with a 12-20 mark.

Howard held North Carolina A&T to one field goal in the final 13 minutes to prevail in the defensive-oriented contest.

“We wanted it to be low scoring, physical, and ugly,” said Howard coach Kevin Nickleberry, whose team also had a lengthy scoring drought of six minutes down the stretch. “Didn’t matter if the score was 41-40 or 18-17. As long as we were the better team and made the plays we needed to win the game.”

Thompson, a 6-3 junior, led Howard with 15 points, including the go-ahead shot in which he used his left hand to shoot since previous attempts with his right had been blocked by the Aggie defense.

“I knew I had to go to my left if I wanted to make the play,” Thompson said. “My teammates put the ball in my hand and I needed to step up.”

North Carolina A&T closed to 51-50 on a DeMetrius Upchurch lay-up with 3.5 seconds remaining. The Aggies defense forced a turnover on the inbound possession, but were unable to get off a shot before the buzzer sounded.

Prince Okoroh had 10 points for the Bison, followed by Simuel Frazier with nine and Hill with seven points and a game-high 8 rebounds.

Adrian Powell led the Aggies with 16 points, followed by Upchurch with 13. Playing without leading scorer Nic Simpson and with second-leading scorer Marc Hill held scoreless, North Carolina A&T was just 1-11 from three-point range and was limited to 20 points under its season scoring average of 70.4 points a game.

“Hard fought defensive game,” said North Carolina A&T coach Jerry Eaves. “One for 11 from three-point range is pretty much the tell-tale of the game. We did everything wanted to defensively, but just didn’t make baskets.”

NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL COMBINES HOT SHOOTING AND DEFENSE TO ADVANCE

WINSTON-SALEM, NC, March 6 -- Dominique Sutton scored a team-high 13 points and Ebuka Anyaorah and Justin Leemow added 11 and 10, respectively to help North Carolina Central pull away to a 60-43 win over Maryland Eastern Shore in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Eagles (17-14), the number five seed, advance to the quarterfinal round where they will take on the winner of the Bethune Cookman/South Carolina State game on Thursday at 8 p.m.

The Hawks (7-23), the number 12 seed, kept it close early and led by five until North Carolina Central spurted to take a 29-26 halftime lead.

Using that momentum, the Eagles combined pressure defense and a sizzling fast break to pull away from Maryland Eastern Shore in the second stanza. Sutton, a transfer from Oklahoma State, Anyaorah and Leemow took turns scoring in transition as North Carolina Central shot 60-percent (9-of-15), compliments of 13 second half turnovers that it converted into 22 points.

“I thought we were a little tentative in our play in the first half,” observed North Carolina Central head coach LeVelle Morton.

“Some of it was jitters from playing for the first time in the tournament. We were making mistakes and not concentrating. We settled down in the second half and were able to play out style of basketball.”

Added UMES head Coach Frankie Allen. “North Carolina Central is a very physical team. They seem to be peaking at the right time. Their defense put a lot of pressure on us and forced turnovers. We played about as well as we can play, but they just wore us down.”

Percy Woods did all he could to help the Hawks advance by scoring a game-high 17 points. But he had to log 35 minutes and in the end, it proved to be a factor.

“We came out with a lot of energy and ready to play,” said Woods. “In the second half, we got worn down. They were very physical.”

BETHUNE COOKMAN ADVANCES WITH WIN OVER SC STATE

WINSTON-SALEM, NC, March 6 -- Stanley Elliott scored a game-high 16 points and Kevin Dukes added 13 to help Bethune Cookman defeat South Carolina State, 62-53 in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s tournament at the LJVM Coliseum.

The Wildcats (16-16), the Number 4 seed, will take on the Eagles of North Carolina Central, the Number 5 seed, on Thursday at 8 pm.

Elliott got Bethune Cookman off to a good start by scoring 10 of his points in the first 20 minutes as the Wildcats led, 27-18 at the half. The Bethune Cookman defense also played a major role by forcing the Bulldogs (5-26) to miss 16 of their 22 shots and converting 10 turnovers into 20 points.

“The game plan was to control the tempo,” explained Bethune Cookman Interim head coach Gravelle Craig. “We played zone and slowed it down to the tempo that we wanted to play.”

Despite trailing at the half, SC State did manage to scrap its way back into the game with a mini run that reduced the deficit to two. Bethune Cookman Interim Coach Gravelle Craig called a timeout. It proved to be timely as Dukes canned a three-point shot that upped the lead back to five, but more importantly took the wind out of the Bulldogs sails.

“The three pointer by Dukes was huge,” lamented SC State head coach Tim Carter. “We had been hounding him on defense and knew that he was probably the only guy that could step up and make the three. We wanted to maintain an arm length distance to him, but he knew he was open, stepped up and made the shot. That was crucial.”

Added Craig, “That shot by Dukes gave us a cushion. It was a big shot.”

From there, Bethune Cookman ran their offense comfortably on their possessions, maintaining a seven to nine-point lead and cruising to the victory.

The Bulldogs got a team-high 13 points from Khalif Toombs and 12 each from Brandon Riley and reserve Presano Bell. SC State shot 55 percent in the second half from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line, but it was not enough to offset the Wildcats’ 36-22 advantage of points in the pain,t and the 19 points off turnovers.

“This game was all about defense,” said Dukes, who had four of the Wildcats’ 12 steals.

In addition to the scoring honors for Elliott and Dukes, Ricky Johnson came off the bench to score all 10 of his points in the second stanza.

MOORE LEADS FLORIDA A&M PAST COPPIN STATE 74-72

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Avery Moore scored all 19 of his points in the second half, including five key free throws in the final 90 seconds, as 11th-seeded Florida A&M upset No. 6 Coppin State 74-72 on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

FAMU (9-22), which rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit, advances to play No. 3 seed Delaware State in the tournament quarterfinals at 6 p.m. on Thursday night.

Moore was fouled on a 3-pointer with 1:29 left and hit all three free throws to tie the game at 68-all. The Eagles took a short-lived lead on a Logan Wiens 3-pointer with 47.6 seconds remaining, but Yannick Crowder’s tip-in with 27.6 seconds left gave FAMU a 72-71 lead. After a Coppin State turnover, Moore hit a pair of foul shots with 8.6 seconds left to extend the advantage to 74-71.

The Rattlers had to dodge one final bullet. CSU’s Taariq Cephas was fouled on a 3-point try with 0.4 seconds left, giving him a chance to tie the game by making all three foul shots. But Cephas missed the first free throw. After making the second to cut the deficit to 74-72, Cephas missed the third free throw intentionally, but the Eagles were unable to get a tying tip-in at the buzzer as FAMU escaped with the win.

CSU drilled eight of its 10 3-pointers in the first half to take a 43-28 lead into the locker room. Eagles’ guard Akeem Ellis was the first-half star, pumping in 19 of his 24 points and hitting 5-of-6 from long range in the opening period. Ellis’ step-back, fade-away trey at the first-half buzzer gave his team a 43-28 lead going into the intermission.

The Eagles hit 50 percent from the floor (14-of-28) and from 3-point range (8-of-16) in the period.

FAMU staged a furious rally to start the second half, outscoring the Eagles 16-3 over the first seven and a half minutes of the period to tie the game. Amin Stevens had the equalizing basket, a short baseline jumper to tie things at 46-all with 12:57 left in the game. FAMU took its first lead since the first half when Brandon Hosely hit a pair of free throws at the 11:00 mark to give the Rattlers a 51-50 lead.

With FAMU leading 54-53, CSU forward Antonio Williams responded by scoring six straight points to give his team a 59-54 lead with 7:20 left. The Eagles stretched their lead to six on two occasions, but Moore and Hosely hit timely 3-pointers to draw FAMU closer, setting the stage for the wild final minute and a half.

Moore and Stevens paced the Rattlers with 19 points apiece. Moore hit 4-of-5 from behind the arc, and Stevens added a team-high 10 rebounds to complete his double-double. Chris Watson added 13 points and Reggie Lewis 11. Both hit a trio of 3-pointers for FAMU, which hit 12-of-20 from 3-point range. The Rattlers shot 54 percent from the floor in the second half and 48 percent for the game.

Ellis had 24 points and a career-high six 3-pointers for the Eagles, whose season ends at 14-16. Tony Gallo added 21 points and Wiens chipped in with 10.

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