At the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at Scope Arena in Norfolk Wednesday, none of that mattered. Thanks to Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina A&T, both top seeds are on the outside looking in, hoping the NIT is kind.
Adrien Coleman scored 24 points and Kevin Dukes hit a crucial layup in overtime to help Bethune-Cookman stun Norfolk State, 70-68, in the opening round of the MEAC tournament.
The Wildcats (14-19) jumped out to a 66-63 lead early in the extra period behind a layup from Coleman and a free throw from Paul Scotland, who finished the game with 11 points.
The Spartans (21-11) tied it, however, on free throws from Pendarvis Williams and Rob Johnson.
After that, Norfolk State missed three straight layups while Dukes swooped in for his own attempt to put his Wildcats up 69-66 with 1:40 to play.
The teams traded trips to the charity stripe but NSU could not get a bucket to fall. They could not even get off the potential game-winner in the final seven seconds.
Williams paced the Spartans with 19 points, while Kris Brown and Rashid Gaston came off the bench for 15 points and 12 points respectively. Though they were outshot 42 percent to 31.6 percent on the floor, the Spartans stayed in the game at the charity stripe, making 27 of 36 tries, while Bethune-Cookman got 15 out of 25 chances.
NSU led 33-23 at the half and increased that lead to 13 points, 36-23, early in the second half on Brandon Goode' three-point play.
Bethune-Cookman managed to whittle their deficit down to 58-51. That's when Dukes nailed a trey, Alex Smith hit a jumper and Malik Johnson added another to bring B-CU to withing a point, 59-58 with 3:44 left in regulation.
Two free throws from Malcolm Hawkins and a layup from Rob Johnson appeared to give Norfolk State a little breathing room, 63-58. However, the Spartans couldn't managed the clock enough.
Hawkins turned the ball over and Ricky Johnson found Coleman for what turned into a three-point play. The Wildcats were within two points, 63-61.
Rob Johnson missed a jumper and Alex Smith snatched the defensive rebound.
He fed Coleman on a fast break for the game-tying layup with 1:13 on the clock.
Both teams combined for two fouls and three turnovers in the final 46 seconds to send the game to overtime.
Lamont Middleton and Adrian Powell each scored 13 points to help the Aggies (17-16) roll over the offensively-challenged Eagles.
North Carolina A&T led 20-15 at the half and outscored NCCU (22-9) 35-27 in the second half.
Though the Aggies hit just 36 percent of their field goals, they beat the Eagles at the charity stripe, hitting 23 of 34 tries, while N.C. Central made just 12 of 26.
The Eagles, who depended on their defense to pick up where the offense dropped off, could not get enough stops to overcome their poor shooting.
Stanton Kidd poured in 13 points but connected on just four of 11 field goals.
Jeremy Ingram hefted up 17 tries and made just three. He missed nine of his 11 three-pointers and sank three of eight free throws to finish with 11 points.