Braves fall at horn at Bama St.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2006

MONTGOMERY, Ala. &8212; Trailing by two with 11.5 seconds to play, Alcorn State had a chance to tie or win.

There was one problem: Alcorn never pulled the trigger on a final shot.

Delvin Thompson stumbled and fell to the floor on a baseline drive as the final buzzer sounded, and there was no whistle at the Joe L. Reed Acadome.

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Alabama State (10-14 overall, 8-5 in SWAC) escaped with a 71-69 victory &8212; the Hornets&8217; sixth straight league win.

&8220;My fault,&8221; said Alcorn coach Samuel West after he chose not to call timeout in the final seconds. &8220;I was proud of the kids&8217; effort, (but) we just fell short tonight. We&8217;ve got to learn how to win close games, and the only way to do that is to play in a lot of close games and win &8217;em&8221;

The loss spoiled a breakout performance by Alcorn&8217;s Juan Wyatt, who scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Wyatt delivered his fourth double-double of the season and his fifth double-digit scoring performance in the last six games.

&8220;We gave up so much size and strength to that big fella, Wyatt,&8221; Alabama State coach Lewis Jackson said. &8220;He just dominated us. &8230; He was in that zone tonight, and there really wasn&8217;t a lot we could do about it.&8221;

Alabama State built a double-digit lead in the second half and appeared on the way to a blowout, but Wyatt kept Alcorn in contention.

Wyatt scored 20 points in the second half, including 12 of 14 during an eight-minute stretch.

&8220;I just took my time and went right at them,&8221; said Wyatt, a 6-foot-8 junior from Fayette, Miss. &8220;I just told the guys, &8216;As soon as you see my open, give me the ball.&8217; &8221;

West said he wanted to get the ball in Wyatt&8217;s hands on the final play, but Alabama State prevented it.

Back-up point guard Carl Landry brought the ball up the floor with 11.2 seconds to go and passed to Clif Douglass on the right win. Douglass pass to Patrick Horton at the top of the key, and Horton was bottled up by the Hornets&8217; defense.

Horton finally passed to Thompson on the left wing, and he drove to his left to the baseline. Several defenders cut off Thompson, and he fell to the floor.