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Men's Basketball Quarterfinals - Day 3 < All News
Friday, March 09, 2012

11TH-SEEDED FLORIDA A&M PREVAILS OVER 3RD-SEEDED DELAWARE IN OVERTIME

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 8, 2012 -- Yannick Crowder scored six of his 12 points in overtime, including four crucial free throws, to lift 11th-seed Florida A&M to a 65-55 upset of Delaware State, the number three seed, in quarterfinal action of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament Thursday at the Joel Coliseum.

The Hornets’ Marques Oliver got a tip-in with 35 seconds left to deadlock the game at 53-all in regulation to force the extra period, but the Rattlers outscored Delaware State 12-2 to pull out the victory and move into Friday’s semifinals against second-seeded Norfolk State.

Amin Stevens had 16 points and Reggie Lewis 15 to lead Florida A&M, which won just its 10th game of the season to improve to 10-22.

“We are honored to be here, honored to be still playing,” said Rattler head coach Clemon Johnson. “No one expected us to be here. It’s the first time since 2007, when we won it, that we have been in the final four.”

Freshman Tahj Tate, the MEAC Rookie of the Year, had 18 points and Casey Walker added 16 to lead Delaware State, which had earlier won the only meeting of the season between the two teams 65-51 at home on Jan. 23. The loss today ended the season for Coach Greg Jackson and his Hornets at 15-14.

“I give all the credit to Florida A&M,” Jackson said in the postgame interview. “I can’t say it was what we didn’t but more what they did do. They did a good job against us defensively.”

Florida A&M scored the first two baskets of the overtime on inside baskets by Stevens and Crowder to take a 57-53 lead with 2:37 left on the clock. The Hornets took a timeout with 2:32 showing to set things up but Jay Threatt, who played the entire second half with an injury ankle, lost the ball inside and the Hornets were whistled for a foul.

Lewis missed both opportunities at the line for FAMU, but Tate turned it over on Delaware State’s trip down court and Lewis was fouled again, this time by Marques Oliver, with 1:27 on the clock. This time, the 6-2 sophomore converted both attempts to pad the FAMU lead to 59-53.

Amere May got an inside basket for the Hornets to close the gap to 59-55 at the 1:08 mark but that would be the last points for Coach Greg Jackson’s team as the Rattlers scored the game’s final six points on four Crowder free throws and a follow shot by Jeremy Dean for the 65-55 victory.

Casey Walker, who was 4-of-8 from behind the arc, connected on a 3-pointer for Delaware State to start the game, but the lead changed hands nine times and there were four deadlocks before the Rattlers raced to a 33-25 lead at intermission behind 13 first-period points by Stevens.

The 11th seed connected on 43.8 percent of its attempts in the opening half to just 32 percent for the favored Hornets, who made 7-10 from the line in the first half to just 3-3 for FAMU to stay to within eight.

Delaware State, which warmed up in the second half with 50 percent shooting from the field, began the final 20 minutes with a 17-8 run to grab a 42-41 lead on a jumper by Tate with 10:42 showing. It was the Hornets’ first lead since the 4:45 mark of the opening half when a Tate pull-up made it 23-22 for Delaware State.

Following Tate’s basket that put the Hornets ahead, Lewis made one of two free throws to tie the contest at 42-all before Dean’s follow shot put the Rattlers back in the lead, 44-42, with 8:27 remaining A Dean dunk made it 46-42 at the 6:59 mark. Walker got his fourth 3-pointer of the contest for Delaware State to slice the lead to one, 46-45, but Lewis countered with his own long range jumper to make the margin four again, 49-45, with 4:57 left in regulation.

Four straight points by the Hornets tied it at 49-and the teams traded baskets on their next two possessions for the 10th and 11th tie of the ball game, leading to the extra period.

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