Bulldog press gets win over Alcorn

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

LORMAN &045; It may have been the classiest exit anyone’s seen in a while.

Alcorn point guard Alleo Frazier had to deal with Alabama A&M’s pressure defense all night on the offensive end, but on defense he drew his fifth foul with just over a minute left and made a point to shake each of the three officials’ hands before going to the bench.

Frazier did the best he could and left with seven assists, but it almost told the story of an Alcorn team that struggled against an A&M squad that went for the throat with their defense.

Email newsletter signup

The pressure was the key in a 77-63 win over Alcorn that handed the Braves their 10th loss in conference and put them in danger of not making the conference tournament for the first time in school history.

&uot;Every time I’ve fouled out &045; I’ve fouled out three times this year, maybe two &045; I shake every ref’s hand and let them know there’s no hard feelings,&uot; Frazier said. &uot;Then I make my exit off the court. But believe it or not, we’ve still got four more games that we can win. We’ve got Alabama State (Monday) and the advantage of playing them at home. We’ve got to work harder and find some kind of vaccine for the turnovers.&uot;

The turnover bug reared its head again Saturday for a team that’s become all too familiar with getting nauseated when looking at the turnover column on the post-game stat sheet. Alabama A&M’s defense was the main culprit in the Braves’ 23 turnovers, and it kept the Braves from finding a groove on the offensive end for almost the entire game.

Just like the first meeting &045; the Braves had 22 turnovers in a 78-53 loss in Huntsville &045; the turnovers were too much.

&uot;Let me give them credit &045; they have a real good defense,&uot; Alcorn head coach Samuel West said. &uot;But their turnovers were not predicated on their defense. The turnovers were predicated on us making bad decisions.&uot;

The Bulldogs (10-3, 13-10) brought the pressure in the second half as they sometimes went with a three-guard set with two guards coming off the bench to team with standout Obie Trotter. They led 37-26 at the break but came out and scored one free throw and two straight buckets to start the second half and get a quick 16-point lead just over a minute in.

Andre Matthews hit one free throw to start off, and Trotter stole the in-bounds play and put it right back up three seconds later.

Trotter followed with another bucket for a 42-26 lead.

&uot;Our defensive pressure has been our bread and butter,&uot; A&M head coach Vann Pettaway said. &uot;We play it in different layers, and we threw two or three different ones at them tonight. I really thought that was the difference in the game.&uot;

The turnovers led to easy buckets for the Bulldogs, who had to fight off Alcorn at times early in the second half before pulling away for good. Delvin Thompson hit a bucket off a pass from DeAndre Jones that trimmed the lead to 42-33, but the Bulldogs came back with a bucket from Marcus Jones and one of two free throws from Jermaine Shakespeare for a 45-33 lead.

Alcorn cut it to seven on a free throw from Roland Parsons at 45-38 &045; the Bulldogs’ narrowest lead of the second half &045; before A&M put up a 17-3 run that put the game away for good.

&uot;The second half, I think the pressure got to us,&uot; Frazier said. &uot;I think we got a little winded. Coach had been asking the guards to get their stamina up (for the game), but it’s hard to get in shape in one week and get in shape for A&M.; They’re really good and a hard-pressing team. Tonight we just couldn’t handle it in the second half.&uot;

The Braves fell behind 62-41 at the 8:04 mark thanks to two free throws from Marcus Young. The Braves kept sending A&M to the line in the second half after getting into the bonus before the halfway point, and the Bulldogs hit 17 of 25 in the fourth quarter.

The Braves ended the run with a bucket from Thompson, but Young hit two more free throws the next trip down for a 64-43 lead.

Thompson led the Braves with 24 points.

&uot;Once again, we don’t shoot free throws so well,&uot; Pettaway said. &uot;It could have been a more comfortable win for us, but I’ll take it. We were able to get our free throws down late. Marcus Young hit 11 of 12, and everybody else was in a funk as far as free throws. I was happy Marcus Young was able to get to the line and hit free throws.&uot;

Alcorn hung with the Bulldogs’ defense more in the first half and led at the 5:20 mark when Thompson put in a layup for a 20-19 lead. That’s when the Bulldogs made their first run of the game and outscored Alcorn 18-2 over the next four minutes as Young finished it with a 3-pointer at the 1:06 mark for a 37-22 lead.

&uot;We tried to get to the line and match up,&uot; West said. &uot;Our 3’s didn’t go tonight. We tried to get to the line and do everything we were supposed to do to match up.&uot;