NCAA Game Summary - Morehead State vs. Alabama State
(Tuesday, March 17th)
Final Score: Morehead State 58, Alabama State 43
Dayton, OH (Sports Network) - Sophomore Kenneth Faried pulled down 21 rebounds to go with 14 points, as the Morehead State Eagles managed just enough offense to upend the Alabama State Hornets, 58-43, in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament at UD Arena.
Morehead State (20-15), making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1984, earned its way into the "Big Dance" with a double-overtime victory over Austin Peay in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title game.
The Eagles now have the unenviable task of taking on Louisville, the top overall seed of the tourney, in Midwest Regional first-round action on Friday. The pair met earlier this season on November 22, and the Big East champion Cardinals cruised to a 79-41 blowout win.
Leon Buchanan chipped in 14 points and eight boards for Morehead State, which has won four straight games following a four-game slide. Maze Stallworth had 11 points -- all in the first half -- and Demonte Harper scored 10 in the win.
Alabama State (22-10) had won 13 of its previous 14 games but came out sluggish after winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference crown on Saturday. Andrew Hayles paced the Hornets with 14 points, while Brandon Brooks ended with 10 points and seven boards in defeat.
The Hornets were outrebounded by a whopping 50-27 margin and shot a woeful 31.0 percent from the field.
"We didn't play our brand of basketball that we usually play," Brooks said. "As you can see, [we had] four assists for the whole game. We weren't playing team basketball and they did."
Morehead State had plenty of rest after taking home the OVC title back on March 7th, and the Eagles jumped on the Hornets early.
Stallworth sank two early three-pointers and the Eagles owned a 9-2 lead four minutes into the game.
Tramaine Butler made a layup to cut Alabama State's deficit to 16-12 at the nine-minute mark, but the Hornets failed to score for the six-plus minutes. The Eagles scored nine straight during that stretch, capped by another Stallworth trey, and the margin was 29-18 at the break.
It was the lowest scoring first half for the Hornets this season, and they continued to struggle from the field coming out of the locker room.
Another field goal-less stretch of six-plus minutes dug the SWAC champs a 39-25 hole following Faried's free throw with just over 12 minutes left.
"I just want to go get it," Faried said. "Everybody on my team tells me to go get it because I make the effort plays...My team feeds off of that, so when I do good, my team does good."
The margin remained in double figures until Brooks' jumper pulled Alabama State within 43-34 with seven minutes showing.
A nine-point differential was as close as the contest got, however. Harper threw down a dunk, Faried and Buchanan made a free throw apiece, and Buchanan added a layup for a 51-36 cushion with 2 1/2 minutes remaining, a margin the offensively-challenged Hornets had no chance of overcoming.
This was the first ever meeting between the programs...Morehead State, making its sixth appearance, improved to 5-6 in the NCAA Tournament. Alabama State has lost all three of its games in the "Big Dance"...Hornets center Chief Kickingstallionsims, who came into the game averaging 8.8 points per game, was held scoreless...The Eagles made just 36.0 percent of their shots and committed 21 turnovers.
03/18 02:04:11 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.