HAWK MEN'S SEASON ENDS IN HEARTBREAKING DEFEAT AT MEAC TOURNAMENT
March 7, 2006
Raleigh, N.C. - The Fighting Hawks season ended tonight in a hard-fought and close game to the Spartans of Norfolk State University (NSU), 73-71. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's (UMES) Tim Parham played his last game in the maroon and grey as the Hawks hopes of a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title ended in the first round of the tournament. The game wasn't without its share of highlights and controversy.
The game looked to be wrapped up by Norfolk State with just 19 seconds remaining. They led by six, 72-66. With ten seconds remaining Troy Jackson missed a shot but Tim Parham was there for the tip-in. NSU's Rashid Cann made one of two at the line when the Hawks were forced to foul. NSU had a 73-68 lead.
With just under a second remaining Jesse Brooks nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to cut the lead to two and Coach Larry Lessett took a time-out. With four tenths left on the clock the Spartans inbounded the ball but Brooks stole it and took a three.
He appeared to be fouled going up but the official, with his hand raised, made no further indication and the game ended with a very emotional Hawk bench and their fans in an uproar. The play was so close that it is possible time had expired when contact occurred.
As of the time of this article there has been no official statement to what the call was, or if there was a call at all.
The game went back and forth with no team taking more than a seven point lead. Norfolk State had that three times, lastly at 19:11 left in the second half when the score was 42-35. Then Jackson took over. Jackson scored 14 of the Hawks next 16 points, including four starigh tthree-pointers, giving UMES a 46-47 lead at the 16:38 mark.
Jackson would tally a game high 25 points in the game. Brooks would finish with 16 points.
Parham was a force in the paint for the Hawks, recording his 15th double double of the season with 18 points and 13 rebounds. He ends his Hawk career with 26 double doubles, both of the last seasons he led the MEAC in that category. An emotional Tim Parham wished the Hawks well. "This is really hard, being my last game and ending the way it did. I have to tip my hat to the coaches and players. I know with these young guys they will have a great future and I hope everything goes well with the program in the future."
Parham, an early entry into last year's NBA draft will now concentrate on that. "I know the team will prepare for next year and I will concentrate on my future as well and how to keep playing the game I love," he added.
Troy Jackson commented on the senior leader. "I never had a real leader in prep school. [Parham] has been a leader on and off the court. He's like my big brother and I will miss him a lot."
Norfolk State won the battle of the boards 45-37 but were outshot by the Hawks 44% to 43%. UMES committed only 14 turnovers and forced 16 from NSU.
Norfolk State's advantage seemed to be on the inside. Where they had no answer for Parham, the Hawks had no answer for Karandick Ogunride who had 18 points and 16 boards in a very active night. Calvin Brown, the other NSU big man had 17 points and seven boards.
Keith Young added 14 points for the green and gold.
"Norfolk did a great job," said Coach Lessett. "We will recruit and begin to prepare for next season. I think you can see, we didn't quit and we will not quit. There was a statement on Fox Sports about how when you used to play UMES it was two wins, now this program is at a place where you know that is not the case. Tonight you saw that."
Norfolk State moves on to play Coppin State in the quarterfinals at 10:00 pm on Wednesday, March 8, 2006.
The following is the official story from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
Senior Karandick Ogunride had a career-high 18 points and a career-tying 16 rebounds to lift seventh-seeded Norfolk State to a 73-71 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore, the 10th seed, Tuesday in opening round action of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the RBC Center.
The Spartans, who also got 17 points and seven rebounds from junior Calvin Brown and 14 points from Keith Young, had to sweat out a controversial ending when its inbounds pass with .04 seconds left went over the head of Brown and the Hawks Jesse Brooks grabbed the errant toss and appeared to have been fouled on a shot attempt. But the officials ruled that time had expired and the game was over.
Had Norfolk State made a few more free throws, it could have had a more comfortable margin at the end. However, Coach Dwight Freeman's team missed 11 of its 22 attempts from the line in the final period, including eight in a row at one point before rebounding to make 7 of 10 in the closing minutes to hang on for the win.
"We certainly didn't shoot free throws well," said the Spartans' Freeman, in an understatement. "And there are a lot of things we can complain about, but the bottom line is we won. I'm excited about the victory and the opportunity to play again tomorrow (Wednesday)."
On the play at the end of the game, Freeman commented, "With only .04 seconds left, it's not much you can do and we felt we had it won. On the inbounds pass, we wanted to go long in case they did get a steal, they would have to come the length of the floor. We didn't execute it (inbounds pass) very well.
The Hawks' Larry Lessett didn't see things the same way as Freeman, but elected to let a reporter who asked him his interpretation of the ending, answer the question himself.
"It was a great game," Lessett said. "Both teams played well and I will leave it at that. "You answered the million dollar question," he said, when the reporter indicated Brooks appeared to have been fouled on the play.
The Spartans, 12-17, advanced to Wednesday's quarterfinals where they will meet second-seeded Coppin State at 10 p.m.
Freshman Troy Jackson had a game-high 25 points for the Hawks, including a 5 of 6 effort from behind the arc. However, he got in foul trouble midway the final stanza and had to sit for a while. When he returned to the game, he was not quite as effective, thanks in some part to the defensive effort of Norfolk State's Rashid Cann, called the team's top defender by Coach Freeman.
The Spartans, ahead 40-33 at the half, never relinquished the lead in the second half, although UMES closed to within one three times, the final time at 66-65 with 2:48 remaining on a jumper by Ed Tyson, who finished with nine points.
The Spartans, on their next down court, got two free throws from Ogunride to go ahead 68-65 before Parham made one of two from the line for the Hawks to slice the margin to 68-66 with just 1:34 showing.
Norfolk built a 72-66 cushion following one free throw each by Al'Davon Thomas and Brown, and two by Ogunride with just 19 seconds left.
Parham got a tip for UMES to pull his team to within 72-68 with just nine ticks left, but a free throw by Cann gave the Spartans a five-point, 73-68 cushion with only six seconds on the clock.
Brooks got a 3-pointer with .04 seconds remaining, bringing the Hawks to within two, 73-71, then grabbed the errant inbounds pass by the Spartans and appeared to have been fouled by Brown. However, time had expired, leaving Norfolk State with the two-point victory.