|MEAC Basketball Tournament: Men's Recap||< All News|
|Wednesday, March 13, 2013|
Top Seeded Norfolk State Falls to Bethune-Cookman in Overtime, 70-68
Norfolk, Va.---Adrien Coleman scored a game-high 24 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime, to help Bethune Cookman upset Norfolk State 70-68, in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Men's ans Women's Basketball Tournament at the Norfolk Scope.
The Wildcats (14-19), the number eight seed, advance to the semifinal round and will face the winner of the Morgan State/Savannah State quarterfinal match-up.
The Spartans (21-11), the top seed and defending MEAC tournament champion, took control early in the game using an inside-out combination of reserves Rashid Gaston and Kris Brown, who each scored nine points. Gaston was 3-of-4 from the field in the paint area while Brown was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
"In the first half, they were able to hit some jump shots," said Bethune-Cookman Coach Gravelle Craig. "I told our guys to defend better and stay in front of them and don't allow them to get second shots."
Norfolk State was able to extend its lead to 40-27 during the first three minutes of the second half on the scoring of Brandon Goode, Pendarvis Williams and Rob Johnson.
The Wildcaset began to claw their way back into the game, courtesy of play from Coleman, an All-MEAc first team selection.
"Coleman can really score the ball," said Craig. "There is a reason he is the leading scorer in the game. Not only was he a factor on offense, he spearheaded our defense in the second half."
Added Norfolk State Coach Anthony Evans, "Coleman is a great player. We tried to make him a jump shooter. We did a great job on him in the first half, but he made his mind up that he was going to get to the basket." Coleman tallied 16 of his points in the second and extra stanza.
The Wildcats finally got the push they needed when they closed with a 14-7 run to tie the game at 63 and force the extra period.
In the overtime, Coleman, who logged all 45 minutes and grabbed 13 rebounds, scored on a power move eight seconds in. Paul Scotland later hit one of two free-throws to make it 66-63, Bethune-Cookman with 4:32 on the clock.
Williams converted one of two free throws and Johnson would later add two to tie the score at 66. Alex Smith, who was big on the boards with 12 rebounds, gave the Wildcats a 67-66 lead. Kevin Dukes got a basket for the Wildcats to up the margin to 69-66 with 1:42 on the clock.
Norfolk State was able to get within one following free-throws by Malcolm Hawkins and Williams. Scotland hit one of two with 7.2 seconds remaining, giving the Spartans a chance to tie or win the game. Williams dribbled the length of the court but bobbled the ball and the buzzer went off, ending the game and completing the upset.
"It was a hard-fought game," said Evans, the MEAC Coach of the Year. "It is disappointing to go undefeated in the regular season and then not to win the tournament. It's really hard to see that happen. But we have to regroup and get ready for the NIT."
In addition to Coleman's 24, the Wildcats got 11 points from both Scotland and Kevin Dukes and a game-high 12 rebounds from Alex Smith.
The Spartans were led by Williams' 19, Brown's 15, Gaston's 12 off the bench, and 10 from Rob Johnson.
North Carolina A&T Upsets Second Seed North Carolina Central In MEAC Tourney
Norfolk, Va. -North Carolina A&T used a strong defensive stance and high powered offense to upset North Carolina Central, in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament at the Norfolk Scope.
The Aggies (17-16), the number seven seed, will take on the winner of the Delaware State/Hampton match in the semifinals on Friday at 8 p.m.
North Carolina A&T set the tone early by establishing the tempo against the No. 2 Eagles (22-9). The Aggies jumped out to a 7-0 lead and managed to slow down the pace of the high-scoring Eagles, who were held to under 23 shots. Additionally, North Carolina Central missed 17 of their shots, including nine from 3-point range.
"The game was a grind for both teams," said North Carolina A&T head coach Cy Alexander. "The shooting percentages were down for both teams. We shot only 36 percent, but we held them to 22 percent."
Although the Aggies held a 20-15 lead on the Eagles, who posted the second best record in the MEAC with a 15-1 mark and came in the game averaging 70 points per game.
"Our plan was to defend and to keep them off rhythm," explained Alexander, a veteran of the MEAC, having coached at South Carolina State where he won several tournament titles. "North Carolina Central does a lot of things in rhythm, so we thought that it was important to change defenses, try to contest their 3-pointers."
The Eagles were able to finally get something going on the play of Stanton Kidd, who scored nine of 13 in the second half and led a rally that tied the score at 31 at the 12:21 mark. From there, the Eagles stayed close but the Aggies never let them get any closer.
North Carolina A&T held the Eagles without a field goal for over 10 minutes and managed to build a cushion that North Carolina Central.
"We waited to get to this point to have our worst game of the season," said a disappointed North Carolina Central Coach Levelle Moton. "That's what is unfortunate and I blame myself. The jitters showed in our play. We missed free-throws and we are the best free-throw shooting team in the conference."
Kidd led his team with 13 points in a losing effort and Jeremy Ingram, an all-conference selection, chipped in with 11.
The Aggies, who lost twice to the Eagles during the regular season, got 13 from Adrian Powell and Lamont Middleton and eight rebounds and three blocked shots from Austin Witter, the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year.