Alcorn State gets thrilling OT win at home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 9, 2003

LORMAN &045; In all the years Davey Whitney has coached basketball, there’s one thing he will never dispute.

It’s better to be lucky than good.

His Alcorn State Braves had luck, momentum and a screaming home crowd on its side Saturday night in Lorman as they took a thrilling 93-91 win in double overtime over Jackson State to up their record in the Southwestern Athletic Conference to .500.

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The Braves (7-15, 5-5) pulled away in the second overtime period to put away Jackson State (4-15, 3-7) in a game that had it all &045; a jam-packed arena, a skirmish between opposing players, key contributions from seldom-used reserves and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that seemed impossible until it fell in to tie it up.

&uot;I thought Jackson State played us tough, and I didn’t think we played our best ball game,&uot; Whitney said. &uot;I think we were lucky to win the ball game, but luck plays a role in every ball game. Of all the adversity (my guys) have been through, they haven’t quit. And they didn’t quit tonight.&uot;

The Braves heated up from the field late in regulation before staying hot in the two overtime periods. Both teams traded baskets through the two overtimes until Brian Jackson hit two free throws with 16.8 seconds for the 93-91 lead.

Jackson State had three chances to tie it up after that. K.C. Cavette missed on a jumper, a tip-in didn’t fall and an in-bounds play from the side resulted in a missed shot from Cliff Walker as time expired.

&uot;We started slow in the first half,&uot; said Jackson, who finished with 29 points. &uot;Shots weren’t falling for us, and coach told us to go inside and the shots from the outside would come to us. We took good shots, and the shots were falling.

&uot;I was feeling it. The basket felt so big. It felt like the ocean.&uot;

Neither team got more than a three-point lead in the overtimes &045; Alcorn had the only three-point lead &045; but none of that would have happened had the Braves not gotten lucky. Freshman guard Alleo Frazier tied the ball game up when his 3-pointer at the buzzer rattled around on the rim before falling in while the buzzer sounded to tie the game at 76-76 and force bonus basketball.

&uot;The clock was running down, and I pushed myself into it so I could get the free throws,&uot; said Frazier, a freshman. &uot;I’m not a shooter, but I got the shooter’s roll. Actually, I thought we won the game. I thought we were down by two when I took that shot. That’s why I was jumping around. We’ve got the will to win.&uot;

Frazier’s shot capped off a furious rally at the end from Alcorn, who was down by 10 on three different occasions midway through the second half. The Braves took their first lead of the second half when Jason Cable hit one of two free throws at the 1:09 mark for a 70-69 lead, but the Tigers answered with a big 3-pointer from Tim Henderson to put the JSU lead at 72-70 with 52 seconds left.

After K.C. Cavette hit two free throws with 17 seconds left for a 74-71 lead, the Braves answered with a dunk from freshman DeAndre Jones with 11 seconds left. Cavette then hit two free throws with four seconds left before Frazier hit the shot.

&uot;BJ (Jackson) took over for us, and we wanted him to do that,&uot; Whitney said. &uot;He hit some big shots and free throws down the stretch. This team hasn’t quit and will not quit. They’ll fight you. Because they’ll fight so hard, they’ve turned things around for us.&uot;

The Braves had to fight through Jackson State’s offense that was clicking for most of the second half. Walker &045; who finished with 29 points but had none in the overtimes &045; at one point scored 13 straight points for JSU and 17 of 19 over a six-minute stretch.

Jackson State kept pounding it inside to Walker while Alcorn big man Rhau-Chavis Landfair &045; the team’s only center now that Lee Cook was dismissed from the team &045; hhad to sit with four fouls.

&uot;He wasn’t really doing anything in the first half,&uot; Frazier said. &uot;In the second half when we had to let big Landfair sit, he went to work against our smaller post players. In overtime we started playing defense before the ball started coming to him. We had to shut him down in overtime.&uot;

Walker was all of the Tigers’ 8-0 run that ended at the 11:32 mark for a 52-42 Jackson State lead. Tori Harris answered with a 3-pointer, but Jackson State got a three-point play from Walker at the 10:40 mark for a 55-45 lead.

Walker tossed in another basket at the 9:22 mark for a 59-49 lead before the Braves chipped away with a 3-pointer from Jackson and a 2-pointer from Dion Callans to spark a 15-4 run that ended with two free throws from Jason Cable at the 4:03 mark to trim the lead to 65-64.