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Devante Carter made two free throws 8.6 seconds ahead and Norfolk State beat Appalachian State 54:53 in their first four games on Thursday night after being 18 points ahead in the second half.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, Spartans, completed a run through historically black colleges and universities on day one of the NCAA tournament, joining the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion, Texas Southern, who defeated Mount St. Mary’s . Norfolk State prevailed against Gonzaga on Saturday.
To beat the mighty Bulldogs, the Spartans, who only scored 26% and 35% overall in the second half, need to improve their shooting significantly. But they made clutch baskets on the track and against the nation’s top team.
« Survive and move forward, and that’s exactly what we did, » said Norfolk State manager Robert Jones. « We knew this Appalachian state wasn’t going to go away. They came back from a big deficit at the beginning of the season to another opponent. Then we got cold and they got hot and turned it into a basketball game. »
Jalen Hawkins scored 20 of his 24 career points from the bank before halftime for the Spartans (17: 7), who scored their first tournament win since the second seed in Missouri in 2012. The Juniors were near perfect in the first 20 minutes, making 6 of 7 shots and all four 3s as Norfolk State built a 19 point lead.
Hawkins cooled off a bit after the break but did during the late The Spartans rally took an important break.
« We panicked a bit because we didn’t expect them to come back anytime soon, » said Hawkins. « Our coach told us to stay positive, play defense, that’s what we strive for. We knew we had to play defense from the jump. »
Justin Forrest had 18 points for App State (17th -12), who shot 27% and missed his last 10 attempts.
The climbers pushed Forrest 51-45 with 5:48, but the only points after that were two free throws from Adrian Delph with 1:03, the made it to 53-52. Carter, who shot 1 in 10 off the field, responded by making his only two free-throw attempts of the game. App State missed two late shots in their final possession, a 3-pointer from Michael Almonacy, followed by Forrest’s jumper after time ran out. « It was designed for a back cut for Forrest, » said App State coach Dustin Kearns . « We all picked up and we wanted to sprint up Justin Forrest with a cut back. They made entry (pass) very difficult and it became a broken game. I thought the 3 was down but we tried to get Justin up a cut in the back. «
Jones was still trying to digest his team’s tense win to capture the fact that two HBCUs had won that same night and even on the same floor just a few hours apart in Indiana’s meeting hall.
« I mean, it’s amazing that two HBCUs moved on tonight, » he said. « To be honest, there were a lot of teams that came to the tournament but didn’t get a win. And we got a MEAC win.
» I’m happy. I am looking forward to the conference. I’m happy for school. I am happy for the young men in this locker room. And I’m happy to have only HBCUs. «
Norfolk State: Hawkins and the Spartans recorded and set the tone in the first half, which App State was on their heels. They lost focus and just as quickly the lead before they recovered.
Appalachian State: It couldn’t have started worse for the climbers, who missed all 18 3-point points in the first half and finished 6 out of 36. Just like that, them awoke, seemed to take control before missing shots on the track that could have sealed an emotional victory.
« It’ll be a minute before we’re done, » Forrest said. « We just wish that we could have this one back man. We all feel we have achieved a lot, but we just wish we could have this back. «
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. © 2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Offers are displayed in real time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data from Factset. Supported and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal statement. Mutual fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.
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