NSUís Season Comes to Close with Loss to Eastern Michigan

Courtesy: MEAC Media Relations
          Release: 03/18/2014
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Courtesy: Courtesy of NSU Sports Information

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team saw its season come to a close with a hard-fought, 58-54 loss to Eastern Michigan Tuesday night in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

The Spartans were not without their chances late in the game after the Eagles had gone up by seven at the Convocation Center. NSU had a chance to tie it with less than 10 seconds to go, but a 3-point attempt by senior Pendarvis Williams clanked off the iron, and EMU hit 1-of-2 from the line on the other end to finish the win.

The loss ended NSU’s season at 19-15 in the third straight postseason appearance for the Spartan program, and the only three in its Division I era. EMU (22-14) moved on to the next round of the CIT against a yet-to-be determined opponent.

It was a slow, at times slogging contest, as both teams shot right around 41 percent for the game. The Eagles overcame a huge disadvantage on the glass and converted a few more free throws than the Spartans for the big difference.

NSU was hurt by its 17 turnovers, compared to just seven for EMU. That gave the Eagles an 18-6 advantage in points off turnovers for the night.

Neither team had more than a five-point lead in the first half, and NSU trailed by just one going into the break. EMU went ahead by five points early in the second stanza, and a fastbreak dunk by Glenn Bryant gave the Eagles a six-point lead with 13:28 to go. The slow pace of the game allowed NSU to stay within a five-point margin for the next nine minutes until Da’Shonte Riley’s bucket put the Eagles up 56-49 with a little more than four minutes left in the game.

The Eagles did not score for the next several minutes, and senior Brandon Goode had a pair of buckets, the latter a putback layup with just 1:25 left. That cut the deficit to three for NSU, and the Spartans eventually got to within two at 56-54 when sophomore RaShid Gaston hit 1-of-2 from the line with 26.3 seconds on the clock.

Mike Talley hit 1-of-2 on the other end for EMU, and NSU’s last-second attempt came up short.

Senior Malcolm Hawkins finished with 16 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans to lead all scorers. Goode also scored in double figures with 12, while Gaston added eight points and 12 boards.

The Spartans held a 39-21 edge on the boards.

Williams hit a trey from the left corner on NSU’s second possession to help the Spartans get out to an early 6-2 lead. EMU was held scoreless for nearly four minutes, and a 3-pointer from Hawkins put NSU up 11-6 at the 14:31 mark of the first half.

Eastern Michigan countered with an 8-0 run and went up by four on a 3-pointer from leading scorer Karrington Ward with less than eight minutes in the half. The Eagles hit two more 3-pointers in the half, and had six altogether before the intermission, while NSU had five treys in the first stanza.

After Hawkins and senior Marese Phelps each drained a 3-pointer, Goode hit a turnaround shot from the baseline with five seconds left to cut the Eagle lead to just one, 31-30, going into the locker room.

Williams finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.

Tally and Raven Lee led the Eagles with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

The teams were nearly identical in overall shooting (20-of-48 for NSU, 19-of-46 for EMU) and in 3-point shooting (7-of-18, 7-of-17). The Eagles shot 13-of-19 from the foul line, while the Spartans connected on 7-of-13.

Williams, Goode, Phelps, Hawkins, Anell Alexis and Riley Maye wrapped up their careers with the program, as NSU’s senior class finished with a 78-57 record over the previous four years. It marked the best four-year stretch for Norfolk State since the program went Division I in 1997.

That four-year span included NSU’s first ever MEAC Championship in 2012 and subsequent upset of No. 2 seed Missouri in the NCAA tournament. Norfolk State also won the regular season conference title in 2013 at 16-0, becoming just the fourth MEAC school to go undefeated.

Williams finished his career 15th all-time at NSU in scoring with 1,646 points. He is just one of two players all-time at Norfolk State, along with leading scorer Ralph Tally, to compile career totals of 1,600 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, 100 steals and 50 blocks.

In addition to ranking in the top 15 in scoring, he also stands first in games played (132), second in 3-point field goals (217), 10th in steals (137), 12th in free throws (339), 15th in assists (270) and 20th in blocks (55).

Goode, meanwhile, ended his NSU career second all-time with 160 blocks despite playing limited minutes in his first two years behind predecessor and all-time record holder Kyle O’Quinn. Goode finished with 679 points and 458 rebounds while shooting nearly 60 percent for his career.

Hawkins totaled 827 points in just two seasons after transferring from Delaware. He also had 219 rebounds, 92 assists, 61 steals and 20 blocks during his two years with the Spartan program. He ranks 13th all-time at NSU with 97 career 3-pointers.

Like Williams and Goode, Maye also was a four-year player for NSU. He had his most productive season by far in his last year while closing out his career with 174 points, 55 rebounds, 14 assists and 13 blocks.

Phelps, a junior college transfer for NSU, scored 195 points during his two-year career to go along with 104 assists, 68 rebounds and 57 steals.

Alexis, a graduate transfer from Marist, averaged 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds during his only season at NSU.

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