Story from Alcorn Athletics:
EL PASO, Texas – The Alcorn Braves (3-3) overcame a slow start in their Friday finale at the UTEP Jim Forbes Classic, scrapping their way first into contention and then all the way to a 62-54 victory over the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (3-3). Defensive pressure in the final 30 minutes proved to make the difference as the Braves knocked down the needed buckets to pull away from the ‘Runners. Next on the schedule is a trip even further west to face Arizona State on Sunday.
The Roadrunners heated up from the perimeter early, using three consecutive scoring possessions to push ahead 11, courtesy of long-rangers from Marvin McGhee III and Kaleb Higgins. Although multiple Braves jumped into action to chip away at the lead, bringing it down to just five on a Dominic Brewton drive down the lane at 13:55, CSUB was able to regain their advantage.
Ball control played a huge role in the early setbacks, as four key Alcorn turnovers contributed toward seven CSU Bakersfield points in the opening 10 minutes of play. However, a complete defensive lockdown of the ‘Runners over a 4:07 stretch provided the Braves an opportunity to position themselves for victory.
In that run, the Braves outscored CSUB 9-0, kicked off by a pair of free throws and a Jeremiah Kendall three-point play. Alcorn followed with steals on consecutive possessions that translated to a pair of fast break layups for Byron Joshua. Brewton collected another off his own steal and Mike Pajeud brought things even on a clutch putback off the glass with 4:29 to go in the half, knotting the score at 23-all.
After the teams traded scores, Brewton knocked down a jumper to claim the first Alcorn lead and Joshua pulled up at the free throw line to make it a four-point advantage. Wade batted away a key layup on the other end and then made the most of getting fouled behind the arc on the other end, extending the Alcorn lead to 31-25 with just over a minute to half.
In the meantime, the Alcorn defense locked up CSUB, holding the ‘Runners scoreless over a 2:22 span that cemented an 18-8 scoring advantage over the final 10 minutes, resulting in a 31-28 lead after trailing by 11.
Defense remained the theme out of the locker room, as no points for either team reached the board for the first 2:51 of the second period. In the meantime, the Braves full-court look was more imposing and created even more offensive opportunities.
The Braves achieved their first double-digit lead at 42-32 lead following a Wade trio of scores; a pull-up jumper then two beyond the arc, along with a Dontrell McQuarter 20-foot pull-up jumper. The Braves maintained their double-figure advantage for all but three seconds of the remaining half, peaking at 15 when Devin Carter drilled a three from the left wing.
Brewton and Wade were key scorers in the first half, but got even stronger in the second half, leading all Alcorn scorers in the final box score. Brewton nearly matched his season-best effort against UTEP, scoring 16 with seven rebounds, knotting his career-high effort of four steals. Wade finished with 15 points, tying his season best with three steals.
An all-around contributor in the victory, Joshua also chipped in eight points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
The Braves commanded the turnover margin 20-11 in the end and logged 13 steals, scoring 17 points off lost CSUB possessions. After a hot opening period for the ‘Runners, the Braves balanced out the pressure and outshot CSUB 38.5 percent to 37.5 percent.
Competition is complete today for Alcorn at the Jim Forbes Classic, but the Braves stay on their westerly swing, heading next to Tempe, Ariz., where Alcorn will meet Arizona State (5-1) at Desert Financial Arena on Sunday, Nov. 27. Remaining in the the Grand Canyon State, the Braves also have a matchup in Phoenix at Grand Canyon on Tuesday, Nov. 29.See a typo? Report it here.