Wade, Williams help Norfolk State prevail in OT over EKU, 87-80

norfolk stateLed by clutch performances from senior Jonathan Wade and junior Kyle Williams, the Norfolk State men’s basketball team broke an eight-game losing streak in an 87-80, overtime victory against Eastern Kentucky on Monday night at Joseph Echols Hall.

Wade put NSU ahead late in the second half before Eastern Kentucky erased a six-point deficit in the last two minutes to send the game to overtime. In the extra session, it became Norfolk State’s turn to play the spoiler. Down by four with two minutes to go, Williams made a pair of 3-pointers, and in between Wade completed a four-point play as the Spartans drew last blood.

Wade finished with 25 points to lead all scorers, hitting 6-of-16 from the field as well as 11-of-16 from the free throw line. He also led all players with nine rebounds. Williams made 5-of-7 from long range, part of an overall 7-of-16 effort from the floor, for a career-high 23 points.

Asante Gist (23 points, 7-of-18 shooting) and Isaac McGlone (21 points, 5-of-7 3-pointers) led the way for the Colonels, who fell to 6-7 overall.

NSU (3-9) earned its first win in a little more than a month, and its first Division I win of the year, despite getting outshot by EKU. The Spartans took advantage of a 35-of-45 effort from the free throw line, 20 more attempts than Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels had 11 more fouls (30-19) than Norfolk State.

Neither team could get much going in the first half, as the opening period ended in a 25-25 tie. But EKU shot 16-of-25 (64.0 percent) in the second stanza, while NSU connected on 11-of-22.

Williams nailed a 3-pointer early in the second half to get the Spartans going as they took a four-point lead. After EKU got back-to-back baskets to tie the score at 33-33 four minutes into the period, Williams made another 3-pointer and got to the hoop for two to extend NSU’s lead to 41-36. A short time later, Gist and DeAndre Dishman had buckets on two straight possessions, giving the Colonels the lead back and marking the first of seven lead changes in a two-minute span.

The Spartans were down for less than two minutes until Wade had a trey from the top of the key at the 7:13 mark. He scored seven straight to put the Spartans back ahead, 62-57. Still with five and a half minutes remaining, NSU was able to stay ahead by at least three points, even jumping ahead by a six-point advantage, 71-65, on three free throws from Wade at the 1:51 mark.

But then Gist converted a layup and drained a 3-pointer, and Dishman had a fastbreak dunk with 44 seconds on the clock to cap a short 7-1 run for EKU. His slam tied the score at 72-72, and the Colonels kept NSU from scoring on its possession while getting the ball back with 20 seconds left.

Gist then drove to the hoop with time running down but was unable to get the shot to fall in traffic. Wade corralled the rebound and dribbled down the left side of the court. His heave from 28-feet out on the left wing did not fall, however, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Dillon Avare put EKU ahead with a 3-pointer on the opening possession, and after some free throws from Wade, McGlone hit a shot from beyond the arc and Gist made 1-of-2 from the line with 2:19 left for a 79-75 Colonel advantage.

After his defender dropped back, Williams sank a deep 3-pointer from the left wing, and Wade got fouled on his trey from the right wing at the 1:23 mark to set up a four-point play. He converted that shot from the line for a three-point lead, but Gist later made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 51.5 seconds left to cut the Spartan advantage to 82-80.

Williams then gave it one last go, knocking down a long-range shot from the right wing with 23.1 on the clock, putting the Spartans ahead by five and essentially closing the door on Eastern Kentucky.

The Spartans won despite hitting just 22-of-53 from the floor (41.5 percent), compared to a 27-of-58 effort (46.6 percent) for EKU. It marked the first time in 36 victories that NSU won despite shooting worse from the floor. The Colonels also made 10-of-24 from the 3-point line, while the Spartans hit 8-of-17.

NSU’s 35 makes from the free throw line marked the second-most in the program’s Division I history.

Norfolk State scored the first nine points of the game and led 11-2 after junior Dan Robinson’s layup at the 13:16 mark. The Colonels scored eight of the next 10 points to make it 13-10 in favor of the Spartans, and EKU later got to within one after 3-pointers from Avare and Gist two and a half minutes apart.

McGlone later made a trey of his own to complete an 11-2 run and give the Colonels their first lead of the game, 21-19, with 4:59 on the clock. The teams traded points the rest of the period and went into halftime at 25-25. Both teams shot less than 35 percent in the first half.

Robinson had career highs of nine points and four blocks to go with four rebounds. Junior Jordan Butler tallied 11 points and six rebounds, and senior Carrington Ward added 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Those two combined to hit 15-of-17 from the free throw line.

Norfolk State had three fewer turnovers (14-11) and turned that into a larger 21-8 edge in points off turnovers.

Nick Mayo (13 points) and Dishman (12) also reached double figures for NKU and helped the Colonels outscore NSU 28-16 in points in the paint.

The Spartans will play their last game before the Christmas break on Wednesday when they head to No. 15 Purdue for a 7 p.m.showdown.



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