Hornets Hang On Late for 68-62 Win Over Fort Valley State
The Alabama State University men’s basketball team used key second half free throws and a key defensive stop to come away with a 68-62 victory over Fort Valley State University in an exhibition game at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome Monday night.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Alabama State head coach Lewis Jackson said. “But I thought with a new team such as this year’s team, we thought it would be this kind of game against Fort Valley. They are not afraid to come in here and play with a lot of confidence it takes to play on the road, and they have a good ball club. It was good for our guys because it helped us see what we need to work on, and team defense is one of them. I thought the effort was good, and we were able to stick out for the victory.”
After Fort Valley State trimmed the lead to 63-62 with 1:13 remaining in the second half, before Austin Rogers knocked down one free throw to extend the lead to 64-62. After that free throw, Terrance LeFlore scored the final four points of the night for the final margin of victory.
The Hornets connected on 71.4 (15-of-21) percent from the free throw line in the second half after attempting just one in the first half.
But it was the defense down the stretch that enabled Alabama State to come away with the win in the final 18 seconds, with Fort Valley State’s Tyler Edwards driving to the basket. He was met by Austin Rogers and Reginald Gee, who combined for the black and kept the Wildcats from trimming the deficit to two. Fort Valley State was unable to get another shot off before the buzzer went off.
Ed Jones made his debut for the Hornets with 23 points and eight rebounds, while also adding three steals and three blocked shots on the night. He finished the night shooting 76.9 (10-of-13) from the floor on the night.
“I thought Ed played really well,” Jackson said. “He shot the ball really well and then he hit the glass. That is something we have been putting emphasis on with him, and he has to get in there and mix it up. He is going to have to do more. He turned the ball over a little down in there not being tough with it, but I thought he had a good performance and stayed the course.”
LeFlore and Gee scored 11 each for the Hornets, while Marice Wright grabbed seven rebounds in his debut.
“Terrance did a good job for us at the point for the most part,” Jackson said. “He has been a program and I thought he could have done a better job taking a care of the basketball, but he had five assists so it balanced out. His leadership on the floor was good and we have to continue to work. We have a long way to go with a lot of new guys on the team.”
The Hornets finished the night shooting 48 (24-for-50) percent from the floor, while also hitting on 41.7 (5-of-12) percent from beyond the arc. They held Fort Valley State to just 37.9 (25-of-66) percent from the floor and 25 (6-of-24) percent from beyond the arc in the win.
Tyler Edwards led the Wildcats with 12 points, while James Barnes added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Alabama State returns to action Friday night against Auburn University Montgomery in another exhibition game beginning at 7 pm at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome. Admission is free for the exhibition contest.