Dave Whitney & Alcorn State’s Near Misses…
Alcorn State had a breakout campaign in 1979 under head coach Dave Whitney, Sr. With their third straight SWAC championship on their resume, they finished the regular season with a 28-1 record and made their first National Invitational Tournament appearance, upsetting Mississippi State University, 80-78 in the first round.
They lost to Indiana, 73-69, and capped off the postseason with a third-place finish in the NAIA Invitational Tournament. In the 1980 season, they dropped only one game – an encore with Mississippi State, 83-80 before running the table and finishing the regular season at 28-1. The Braves became the first predominately black college to participate in the NCAA Division I National Basketball Tournament… They defeated their first-round opponent South Alabama, 70-62. but lost to LSU in the second round, 98-88. They represented the SWAC five more times in the NCAA and NIT tournaments:
1982 NCAA: They lost by 10 points to Houston in the first round, 94-84, and posted a 22-8 record. 1983 NCAA: They defeated Xavier in the opening round, 81-75, and lost to Georgetown in the first round, 68-63. 1984 NCAA: The Braves downed Houston Baptist in the opening round, 79-60 and gave No. 1 seed Kansas a scare in the first round, 57-56 1999 NIT: Braves lost to Stanford in the first round, 69-57 2002 NIT: They narrowly lost to Siena in the opening round, 81-77.
Nat Archibald, center
Eddie Archie, guard
Aaron Brandon, forward
Tommy Collier, center
Tommy James, forward
Dellie Johnson, forward
Alfred Milton, forward
Al Monroe, center
David Palmer, center
Michael Phelps, forward
Larry Smith, forward
Dave Whitney, Jr., guard
Willie Norwood, forward
Julius Keye, forward
Levi Wyatt, center
James Fleming, forward
Joseph Martin, forward
Andrew Tatum, guard
John McGill, forward
Ronnie Smith, guard
James Horton, guard
Albert Irving, forward
Dwight Alexander, guard
Eddie Baker, center
E.J. Bell, guard
Walter Ned, center
Aaron King, forward
Southern Cruises Past Georgia Tech, 93-78
Southern University was the 13th seed in the West Region which meant they would be offered up to the no.4 seeded Georgia Tech Bulldogs in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament. Ben Jobe had the Jaguars playing at a high level, averaging 97.9 points per game, and Georgia Tech was having one of those years when they were dominating their rivals, Duke University, North Carolina, and the rest of the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference. The Jaguars showed early jitters as they fell behind by 15 and trailed 32-17 with eight minutes remaining before halftime. Then 6-6 All-America forward Jervaughn Scales and 6-7 Leonard White played volleyball against the backboards as they battled Tech’s All-Americans Malcolm Mackey and James Forrest. With the game tied at 61, 6-2 point guard Terry Thomas (20 points) led Southern on a 15-2 run and Tech never recovered. Scales had a monster performance with 27 points, 18 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and three steals. The Jaguars dropped their second-round game, 90-80 to George Washington Colonials, led by their high-scoring freshman guard Kwame Evans. 1993: Southern averaged 97.9 points…Hi: 157 points vs. Prairie View A&M…156 vs. Baptist Christian.
Ben Jobe 5-time Black College Coach of the Year
Bob “Butterbean” Love ’65
Avery Johnson ’88
Bobby Phills ’91
Joe Faulkner ’91
Coppin State Stuns South Carolina, 78-65
They started the season with non-conference blowout losses to Division I power-house Oklahoma (88-64) and Nebraska (88-72) and ended as the top seed in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament. The Coppin State Eagles earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals after an 81-74 win over no.3 seed North Carolina A&T in the MEAC finals. They were the no. 15 seed (30-point underdogs) going up against no.2 seed South Carolina in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Despite their big advantage, South Carolina only led by seven (47-40) with 13 minutes left before collapsing and becoming just the third no. 2 seed to lose a first-round game. The Eagles took a 55-54 lead with less than seven minutes to go and put the Gamecocks away when a three-point shot as the shot clock expired. It gave the Eagles a 9-point lead with less than two minutes left in the game…Junior guard Antoine Brockington, senior center Terquin Mott, and senior guard Reggie Welch had held the Gamecocks high-scoring guard trio – Larry Davis, P.J. Mckie, and Melvin Watson to a combined 31 points. Eagles reserved guard Danny Singletary scored all but four of his game-high 22 points in the second half and led the team to an unbelievable 13-point upset of the no. 2 seed, which was touted by some to win it all. Coppin State almost pulled off another upset, narrowly lost to Texas in the second round, 52-51.
Hampton Upsets Iowa State, 58-57 in 2001 NCAAs
It was the standard matchup – #15 vs. #2 Iowa State in the 2001 NCAA first Round Regional Playoffs. The Hampton Pirates, first time out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, was facing All-Americans and future NBA first-round draft picks Marcus Fizer and Jamal Tinsley. Under head coach Steve Merfeld, the Pirates breezed through the MEAC tournament with victories over Morgan State, 76-64; Norfolk State, 94-67 and 70-53 over South Carolina State in the finals. Senior forward Tarvis Williams was named Regional Most Valuable Player. Iowa State, led by point guard Tinsley, had come within one game of the Final Four the previous season. Hampton was making its first appearance in the NCAA March Madness. The Pirates started off a little shaky but only trailed by 11 points in the second half when they began to close the gap behind forward Williams and David Johnson, who put back a missed layup that tied the game. It was a heart-stopping climax as Williams knocked down a short jumper that gave Hampton a 58-57 win as time was winding down. The Cyclones had one last gasp, but Tinsley missed a layup with 1.2 seconds and that set off a wild celebration for the Pirates faithful.
Spartans Tops Missouri in NCAA First Round, 86-84
Norfolk State pulled off one of two upsets in the 2012 NCAA tournament
It was the third time a historically black college pulled a major upset in the opening round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament (the other were Coppin State over South Carolina in 1997 and Hampton over Iowa State in 2001). In their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, the Norfolk State Spartans made it count by defeating no. 1 seed Missouri, 86-84. All-MEAC forward Kyle O’Quinn led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. He scored the decisive basket on an old fashioned three-point play with 34.9 seconds left and the score tied 81 all. Missouri was a 21-point favorite but had to battle back all game long. The Spartans took advantage of Mizzou’s lax defense to find open spots on the floor and get easy looks at the basket and shot an identical 53 percent from the field and three-point range. The Tigers shot also shot 52 percent from the floor but every time Mizzou’s head coach Frank Haith’s team took a lead, it could not stop the Pirates on the defensive end of the floor. Norfolk State hung around with easy baskets underneath, then surged to a late lead because of poor perimeter defense. After O’Quinn put the Spartans ahead by four points after two successful free throws, the Tigers clawed back behind guard Phil Pressy (20 points) and his long three-pointer cut the Spartans lead to 85-84. Norfolk State’s Rodney McCauley missed the second of two free throws with eight seconds remaining, but O’Quinn forced a crucial jump ball with the arrow favoring the Spartans. After O’Quinn put the Spartans ahead by four points after two successful free throws, the Tigers clawed back behind guard Phil Pressy (20 points) and his long three-pointer cut the Spartans lead to 85-84. Norfolk State’s Rodney McCauley missed the second of two free throws with eight seconds remaining, but O’Quinn forced a crucial jump ball with the arrow favoring the Spartans. He missed two ensuing free throws that would have sealed the victory, but with 2.0 seconds remaining, Pressy’s desperation three-pointer clanged off the back rim and doomed the Tigers’ comeback.
No. 22 Michigan State Falls to Texas Southern in OT
It was another David vs. Goliath matchup when Texas Southern (3-8) – a team from the Southwestern Athletic Conference coached by former Indiana head coach Mike Davis, played no. 22 Michigan State (8-4), led by legendary coach Tom Izzo.
The Spartans featured All-American Denzel Valentine and came into the contest leading the nation at 44 percent from 3-point range.
In Texas Southern’s prior three games, they had lost by 26 to Baylor, by 25 to Florida, and by 40 to Gonzaga.
The Spartans led 30-25 at halftime, and after the Tigers tied it early in the second quarter, Michigan State seemed to be in control after Valentine’s 3-pointer gave the Spartans a 50-42 lead. But the Tigers went on an 11-2 run on Jason Carter’s 3-pointer with 1:26 remaining to give them a surprising 53-52 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Spartans tensed up and playing in the place of their star forward Branden Dawson, freshman Javon Bess came up with an offensive rebound and was fouled in the final seconds of regulation.
But, Bess was only able to sink one of two free throws to tie it at 55 and the game went into overtime.
An inspired Texas Southern squad surged ahead, scoring the first four points in overtime and held the Spartans without a field goal in overtime until the final minute. The Tigers went on to win, 71-64.
Chris Thomas led all scorers with 22 points, and Malcolm Riley added 20 off the bench as the Tigers shot a season-best 53 percent from the field and had only 11 turnovers in the game.
The Tigers (2-8) had not beaten an AP Top 25 team since a win over 16th-ranked Minnesota on Dec. 21, 1994. Davis had never defeated Michigan State in five tries as Indiana’s head coach.