Norfolk State beats Howard in 2 OTs

norfolk stateReady to get on the court, the Norfolk State men’s basketball team instead had to wait its turn on Saturday at Burr Gymnasium after the Spartan women won in double overtime against Howard in the first game of the afternoon. Then the Spartan men decided they wanted to play extra as well.

Senior Jeff Short completed a four-point play with time ticking down in the first overtime, and the Spartans survived to defeat Howard by a 99-92 score in double overtime in one of the wildest days ever for the two NSU basketball teams.

The Spartan men had not played an overtime game yet this season and had gone four years since their last double OT contest. Howard made it so after rallying late in regulation.

Norfolk State held a 10-point lead with four and a half minutes remaining in the second half. The Spartans were still up by seven with two minutes to go before the Bison got clutch scoring from James Daniel, the nation’s leading scorer, to force overtime.

But a year after Daniel made a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime in last season’s meeting at Burr, it was Short’s turn to play the hero. Down by four after HU’s Marcel Boyd made two free throws with 11.8 seconds left in the first extra session, Short made an off-balance trey with 5.6 seconds left from five feet beyond the top of the key.

Short spun toward the basket and put up a Hail Mary while getting pulled down by the back of the jersey. His short found nothing but net, and Short calmly sank the free throw to tie the score at 86-86. Howard’s Keon Hill missed a trey from the left wing as time ran out to force double OT.

It was then basically all NSU in the second overtime. The Bison (10-13, 4-4 MEAC) did not make a basket for the entire five minutes, while Short added eight points in the second extra session to help the Spartans pull away.

Short finished with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting after tallying just five points by the end of regulation. Senior D’Shon Taylor sank 7-of-13 from the floor for a 22-point night, while sophomore Zaynah Robinson surpassed his career high with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Robinson added five assists and made 4-of-6 from 3-point range, helping the Spartans go 11-of-28 overall from 3-point range (39.3 percent) as well as 35-of-71 overall (49.3 percent).

The victory improved NSU’s record to 11-13 overall and 7-2 in the MEAC. After Hampton’s loss to UMES on Saturday, the Spartans moved to within a half game of first place in the league behind the Pirates and South Carolina State (both 7-2).

Daniel, meanwhile, shot 8-of-20 from the field, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range, as well as 12-of-12 from the free throw line for a game-high 34 points. He scored 18 straight points for Howard between the end of regulation and the first overtime to single-handily keep the Bison in the game.

Robinson’s 3-pointer put the Spartans ahead 69-58 with 5:05 left in the second half. But after Taylor made 1-of-2 from the free throw line with 4:32 left for a 10-point edge, Daniel made a 3-pointer and then got fouled shooting a trey on the next possession. He sank all three to cut the deficit to four, but Robinson sank 1-of-2 from the line, and Taylor’s jumper in the lane with 2:10 on the clock pushed the lead back to seven.

After a timeout, Daniel drove right down the court and made an immediate 3-pointer before doing the same and completing a 4-point play on the next possession. His free throw shot on the and-1 tied it up at 73-73 with a minute and a half left.

NSU took an ill-advised shot with 25 seconds left, but Howard turned it over by the left sideline to give NSU a shot at the win in regulation. The Spartans’ last second shot in traffic down low, though, did not fall as time was about to expire.

Then at the start of overtime, Daniel made yet another fall away trey, and NSU was forced to play catchup. The Spartans did tie it up at 78-78 with 3:19 in overtime when Robinson drained a trey from the top of the key. Senior Charles Oliver made two from the line to again tie the score a little less than a minute later, but after the two teams traded free throws, Boyd made a layup with 34.3 seconds left and then two free throws at the 11.8 second mark.

That four-point lead did not last, as Short then tallied his own four-point play to force the second overtime.

That bucket by Boyd proved to be the last for Howard, which got outscored 13-6 in the second overtime with all six points coming off free throws.

After head coach Robert Jones on purposely lost his suit coat early in the second session, freshman Alex Long had a fastbreak dunk and Short drained a 3-pointer at the 4:08 mark – near the same spot as his four-point play – for a three-point lead. The Spartans led the rest of the way, as Robinson’s fastbreak bucket off a poor inbounds pass by Howard and a layup by sophomore Jordan Butler helped the Spartans push the lead to its eventual seven-point margin at the end.

The Bison had four turnovers and went 0-of-6 from the field in the second overtime.

The Spartans, meanwhile, hit 8-of-8 from the line over the two extra sessions after uncharacteristically struggling in the earlier part of the game. NSU hit 19-of-28 from the foul line but just 11-of-20 in regulation.

Howard made 34-of-38 from the line and held a 50-33 edge on the glass. Boyd played a big part with 17 rebounds to go with 12 points. Damon Collins had 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds, while Tyler Stone added 18 points and eight boards.

The Spartans got up and down the court in the early part of the game, building an 11-4 lead just three minutes into the contest. The Bison scored seven of the next nine points before NSU extended its lead to seven on a trey from sophomore Devonte Banner at the 11:17 mark.

NSU held Howard scoreless for a three-minute span, and a trey from Taylor and a long two-pointer by Robinson put the Spartans ahead 25-17 with less than seven minutes left in the stanza. The Bison, however, used a 13-5 run that lasted four minutes to tie the score at 30-30. Collins had six points during that time as he finished with 14 at the break.

Taylor sank his third trey of the half with a little more than a minute remaining, and the Spartans went into the half up 35-32. Taylor had 11 to lead NSU at the intermission.

Daniel scored the first five points of the second half for Howard, but thanks in part to two 3-pointers from Robinson, the Spartans jumped ahead 47-39 before the under-16 media timeout. The lead eventually reached 11 before Daniel sank a 3-pointer from the left corner at 14:38.

The Spartans pushed the lead back into double digits, eventually reaching 60-48 after buckets from Taylor and Long. The Bison answered with a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to five, but a long two from junior Jonathan Wade and a 3-pointer from Robinson put the Spartans ahead by double digits, 69-58, before Daniel took over for the Bison.

Long also reached double figures with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Wade and Oliver each tallied eight points, while Butler posted nine points and seven boards.

Howard hit just 26-of-68 for the game (38.2 percent) as well as 6-of-17 from long range. Daniel, of course, made all six treys for the Bison, who made 13-of-23 from the floor in the second half but just 13-of-45 in the first half and overtime.

Howard also got just two points from its bench after playing only eight players for the game. Daniel played all but one of the game’s 50 total minutes, with Collins finishing with 48 minutes on the floor.

Thanks in part to 25 Bison turnovers, the Spartans outscored them 32-12 in points off turnovers. Howard only outscored the Spartans, meanwhile, 12-7 in second chance points despite doubling up on the offensive glass (22-11).

After a day of much-needed rest, NSU will complete the road trip with a contest at UMES on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

         
 

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