Braves fight off Hornets

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

LORMAN &045; Maybe it was an omen of good things to come for Alcorn State.

In a bizarre opening, Alcorn scored two points before the jump ball, as Alabama State’s Miguel Morton was assessed a technical foul for dunking the ball during pre-game warm-ups.

From there, things just kept going the Braves’ way. The Braves had one of their best first halves of the season, shooting 59.1 percent from the field in the first half and building a 32-16 halftime lead.

Email newsletter signup

Then things got interesting. The second half was an exercise in holding on to the lead at all costs for the Braves, who almost lost the game in the final minutes after hitting just four-of-17 field goal attempts in the second period.

Alcorn State (6-20, 5-10) finally got a 51-47 win over Alabama State (11-12, 9-5), but it took a nerve-wracking final minute and some clutch free throws from the Braves to secure the victory.

&uot;I think we’re just not accustomed to being in that position with a lead in the final minutes,&uot; Alcorn assistant coach Marlon Dorsey said. &uot;It’s nice to see some free throws (made at the end of the game).&uot;

Delvin Thompson and DeAndre Jones each hit two free throws in the final 23 seconds to secure the close win.

It was a crucial win for the Braves, who need to win their remaining games just to make the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament. That lack of wiggle room might have accounted for the intensity they opened the game with.

&uot;Our backs are against the wall,&uot; Alcorn’s DeAndre Jones said. &uot;We had to win. That’s the way it’s going to be with the rest of our games. We have to win or go home.&uot;

Alcorn came out against Alabama A&M on fire, hitting 59.1 percent of its shot and quickly building a large lead.

&uot;Any time you’re shooting 59 percent from the field, you’re playing well,&uot; Alabama State head coach Rob Spivery said. &uot;We’re not playing well right now, and this is a bad time of year for that. We still have a chance in the conference, but it’s slipping away.&uot;

The Hornets almost did win. Alcorn started to fall apart in the final minutes before regaining their composure and hitting some free throws in the closing moments.

The Braves’s offense went ice cold over a seven-minute stretch late in the game, getting just one score, a three-point play by Delvin Thompson. The Hornets had no such troubles over that stretch, scoring 14 points to get the game as close as 46-43 with 7:05 remaining.

It might not have even been close if the Hornets had hit more of their free throws. As a team, Alabama State hit just 42.1 percent of their free throws.