AGGIES LOSE THRILLER IN D.C.

Posted by Jim on February 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

 Johnson sends game into overtime with 3-pointer(Brian Holloway reporting)

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2009 – For about eight seconds in the closing seconds of overtime Saturday evening, everything looked to be going right for North Carolina A&T before everything went horribly wrong in a 77-74 overtime loss to the Howard men’s basketball team at Burr Gymnasium.

With 18 seconds remaining in overtime and the Aggies leading by one, Howard guard Curtis White had his 3-point attempt blocked by N.C. A&T senior forward Nick Wilson. Fortunately for the Aggies, the ball conveniently bounced into the corner and into the hands of Howard’s Kyle Riley where the Aggies trapped immediately.

Without a timeout, Riley looked destined to be stuck in the corner. Somehow however, he squeezed a pass between two Aggie defenders, and found Paul Kirkpatrick with an Aggie defender on his back and out of position because of the scramble for the loose ball.

Therefore, Kirkpatrick simply turned toward the rim and dunked the basketball for a 75-74 Howard lead with 9.3 seconds.

“We’ve got to complete the play,’’ said N.C. A&T head coach Jerry Eaves. “We blocked the shot, they almost turn it over, there was a loose ball because of it…we’ve just got to pick it up.”

Eaves’ rough moment continued. Without a timeout remaining, the Aggies quickly in-bounded the ball to junior point guard Tavarus Alston. Not realizing he had more time on the clock, Alston launched a desperation 3-pointer just inside the halfcourt line. The heave bounced off the back of the rim and into the hands of Kirkpatrick with three seconds remaining.

Kirkpatrick hit both free throws to give the Bison a 3-point lead. Alston had a chance to tie the game. But this time his long-range three came up short, sending the Aggies to 8-13 overall and 2-5 in the MEAC.

“We tell our players they usually can go from end-to-end in about 4.4, 4.5 seconds,’’ said Eaves. “Tavarus just didn’t see the clock as he was pushing the ball down the floor. I think it is unfortunate because they look disoriented as he was bringing the ball down the floor. I’m sure after this moment he will understand to take a glance at the clock before he heads down the floor. It’s all a learning experience.”

The Aggies trailed for most of the game. An Ed Jones 3-pointer gave the Aggies at 59-57 lead with 6:47 remaining in the game. It was N.C. A&T’s first lead since the opening two minutes of the game. The Aggies would add to their lead on a Jones drive to the basket.

The Bison fought back to tie the game at 61 with 3 ½ minutes remaining. After the two teams traded 3-pointers, the Bison took a 3-point lead on a made free throw and layup by White. The two teams then traded free throws, resulting in Howard taking a 68-65 lead. An Aggies turnover looked costly until Howard’s Kandi Mukole missed two free throws.


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