NCAA South Region Recap
by Jon Gonzalez
No.10 Kent State vs. No.7 Oklahoma State
Ok, who was the higher seed here? Actually, what happened in the tournament’s first game should have come as a surprise to no one. The odds makers had Kent winning, and the Flashes did just that. Trevor Huffman dropped 18 points while Demertic Shaw scored 21 points as Kent State dumped Oklahoma State 69-61. From the opening tip, it looked as if OSU had no idea what they were in for.
Kent (28-5) gained confidence with every early bucket they connected on and after falling behind by 15 points early, you had the sense the Cowboys (23-9) were doomed. Shoddy guard play didn’t help matters either for the ‘Boys as the OSU backcourt shot horribly and committed a ton of turnovers. In the second half, the Cowboys mounted a frantic rally, but as they did the whole game, the Flashes hit key shots to snuff out any sign of a Cowboy threat. The win extended Kent State’s winning streak to 19 games.
No.15 Florida Atlantic vs. No.2 Alabama
The Owls of Florida Atlantic gave Alabama all they could handle, but in the end, Mo Williams and the Crimson Tide were too much. Williams, a freshman, scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 10 boards as the ‘Tide survived FAU 86-78. The Owls (19-12) came out smoking early and may have reminded many of Hampton, last years 15 seed upset winner.
The Atlantic Sun Tournament champions matched Alabama (27-7) bucket for bucket for nearly 34 minutes and had the crowd in Greenville, S.C. behind them. But with the score tied at 64-64, the sleeping Crimson giants finally woke up and went on a 10-0 run that sealed the deal for Alabama. The Tide avoids the shocker and FAU makes like a spring breaker and heads back to Florida. Hey, Owls, it could be worse. Next up for Alabama, a second round date with the Golden Flashes of Kent State.
Sub-Region Round 1 MVP: Mo Williams, Alabama
Sub-Region Round 1 Best Name That Describes Their Team’s Play: Earnest Crumbley, FAU
Sub-Region Round 1 Luckiest Loser: Florida Atlantic. Like I said, at least they get to go back to Florida.