Norfolk State security guard Jalen Hawkins, 24, shoots in the second half of a First Four game against Appalachian State at the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament on Thursday, March 18, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana ( AP Photo / Doug McSchooler).
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Devante Carter made two free throws, 8.6 seconds ahead, and Norfolk State beat Appalachian State 54-53 in the top four on Thursday night after beating Appalachian State 54-53 in was 18 points ahead of 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 to join the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Texas champion Southern, who defeated Mount St. Mary the previous Thursday. Norfolk State prevailed against Gonzaga on Saturday.
Jalen Hawkins scored 20 of his 24 points before half-time for the Spartans (17-7), who scored their first tournament win since the second seed in Missouri in 2012.
Justin Forrest had 18 points for App State (17-12), who shot 27% and missed his last 10 attempts.
The climbers pushed Forrest 51-45 up at 5:48, but the only points after that were two Adrian Delph’s free throws with 1:03, who made it 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.
Norfolk State: Hawkins and the Spartans took the pictures and set the tone in the first half, with App State hot on their heels. Just as quickly, they lost focus and lead before recovering.
Appalachian State: For the climbers who missed all 18 3-pointers in the first half, it couldn’t have started worse. Just like that, they seemed to take control before missing shots on the track that could have sealed an emotional victory.
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