Alston, the kid from Smith HS, SINKS HAMPTON WITH 3-POINT BASKET

Posted by Andy Durham on February 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm under College, High School | Comments are off for this article

Alston scores a career-high 21 points(Brian Holloway reporting)

HAMPTON, Va., – Redemption occurs when someone makes an amends for a past mistake or transgression.

North Carolina A&T guard Tavarus Alston’s actions on Monday night spelled out the definition of the word redemption better than any words could ever do.

Alston(Smith HS) nailed a 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds remaining to help the Aggies rally from a 12-point second-half deficit to beat Hampton 56-55 at the HU Convocation Center. Alston’s 3-pointer made up for the mistake he made at Howard in overtime on Saturday when he thought the game clock was closer to zero than it really was. As a result he took a shot just inside the halfcourt line despite being down only one and having plenty of time on the clock to get a better shot.

“I was in a rhythm because I hit a couple of threes earlier in the half,’’ said Alston, who led the Aggies with 21 points on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range. “My shot felt good in warm-ups, so that gave me a lot of confidence going into the game. I felt I owed to my teammates to make up for what I did the other night.”

Alston said he was thinking about what happened at Howard throughout Monday’s game before the memory went away.

“The Howard game went out of my head as soon as I hit,’’ Alston said. “As the seconds went down, I was thinking about this is my chance…this is my chance.”

Alston got his chance thanks to an Aggies defense that held the Pirates to just one field goal over the final eight minutes of the game. Down 50-38 with 7:51 to play, Alston knocked down a 3-pointer to pull the Aggies to within nine. Four minutes later, Ed Jones put the Aggies down four, 50-46. Hampton guard Vincent Simpson hit the Pirates lone field goal in the final eight minutes with a runner in the lane.

Alston answered with another three from the corner to slim Hampton’s lead to 52-49. Simpson hit two free throws with 2:05 remaining to put the Pirates ahead by five. It appeared free throws would harm the Aggies chances of a comeback.

Robert Johnson and Thomas Coleman both went to the line, but were able to hit only one free throw apiece to put the Aggies down three. But another missed jumper by the Pirates landed into the hands of Alston. Alston went to the line and knocked down two free throws to close the Aggies to within one at 54-53.

N.C. A&T (9-13, 3-5 MEAC) appeared to have Brandon Tunnell trapped deep into the corner near the in-line, but instead Jones was called for a foul, sending Tunnell to the line. Tunnell hit just one of two free throws setting up Alston’s dramatic shot.

“I’m so happy for Tavarus to rebound like he did,’’ said Eaves. “That showed guts after not taking the appropriate shot the other night. It was a tremendous uplifting win for the team.”

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