Braves stave off upset-minded Alabama A&M

Braves stave off upset-minded Alabama A&M
SOURCE: ASU Athletics (Source: ASU Athletics)

LORMAN, Miss. - Junior Troymain Crosby scored the go-ahead bucket with under a minute left, and the Alcorn State University men’s basketball program made a stop in the closing seconds to defeat Alabama A&M 59-58 on Saturday at the Davey L. Whitney Complex.

It extended the winning-streak to four games. In what was a defensive battle, Alcorn (9-9, 5-2 SWAC) trailed AAMU (5-12, 2-4 SWAC) for nearly 30 minutes in the game, including a 10-point deficit in the second half. The Braves were down by one with under a minute left when Crosby grabbed inside position underneath the basket and converted the lay-up with 54 seconds remaining.

The Braves made a pair of defensive stands down the stretch. Junior Kobe Wilson blocked a shot with 42 seconds left, and then after the Bulldogs made a stop, they launched a deep, contested three-pointer with one second remaining that was off the mark. Senior Maurice Howard led the offense with a game-high 19 points. He was one of two Braves in double-figures along with Crosby’s 10 points.

Junior Kobe Wilson secured eight rebounds and blocked four shots. The SWAC Player of the Week, senior Deshaw Andrews, ended with eight points and four rebounds.

Alcorn was able to overcome a cold shooting night for the victory. The team averages 10 three-pointers made per game on the season, the seventh-most in the nation, but was just 5-of-15 from long range. However, the defense limited the Bulldogs to a 4-of-18 mark (.222) from long distance. The Braves were 12-of-13 (.923) from the free throw line including 7-for-7 in the second half. Howard was a perfect 4-for-4. AAMU was led by Cameron Tucker’s 13 points. Garrett Hicks scored 12, and EJ Williams finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Alcorn started slow and the Bulldogs took advantage with an early 9-4 lead. Still trailing 11-7, senior Corey Tillery drilled a three and junior Anthony Fairley hit a lay-up inside to put the team ahead 12-11 at the 11:42 mark.

With the score tied at 16, the Bulldogs took a slight advantage 19-6 on an old-fashion three-point play by Jalen Johnson. AAMU’s biggest lead of the half, 29-23, came on a field goal by Brandon Houston at the 1:36 mark. Howard drained a pair of free throws, but Alcorn trailed 29-25 at the intermission.

The Braves couldn’t get it going yet early in the second half, and a three-pointer by Hicks extended AAMU’s advantage to 39-29 with 17:16 to go. Still down 42-34, Howard made both a floater in the paint and a quick three-pointer to cut it to 42-39 with 13:57 left. Alcorn took its first lead of the half 49-48 on a three-pointer by Wilson – his first of the year – with 7:45 remaining.

A pair of free throws by Tillery pushed it up to 57-54 at the 4:05 mark. AAMU responded with a lay-up by Williams and a jumper by Hicks to regain a 58-57 edge with 1:45 remaining. The Braves went back ahead 59-58 after second-chance bucket was scored by Crosby, after an offensive rebound by Wilson. After Alcorn got a stop defensively, it led by one with the ball when a three-pointer was missed with 14 seconds left. The Bulldogs grabbed the rebound and raced down the floor for a last-second three that was too strong by Tucker off the back rim.

The Braves will remain at home Monday when they host Alabama State at 7:30 p.m. at the Davey L. Whitney Complex. Alcorn is 5-3 against ASU under head coach Montez Robinson.

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.