GARLAND (AP) – Tremayne Moorer scored 14 points and Tramaine Butler added 13, lifting Alabama State to a 65-48 victory over Grambling on Saturday night to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Hornets are sure to be a low seed considering they are only 17-17. At least they have momentum going for them — they were 6-16 at the start of February, but head into the tournament on an 11-1 run. This victory avenged their only loss in their recent spurt, a one-pointer on the road in the regular-season finale.
Grambling (12-21) reached the SWAC tournament finals for the first time on a big roll of its own, winning nine of 11. The sixth-seeded Tigers led 28-26 at halftime, then fell apart.
Alabama State opened the second half with a 28-4 run, including a 14-0 stretch. They are headed to the tournament for the fourth time, having lost in the first round in 2001, ’04 and ’09.
Less than 3 minutes into the second half, Butler grabbed a rebound and made a layup to put Alabama State up 30-28. Another putback score, by Kenderek Washington, made it 37-30, giving the Hornets their biggest lead yet. Then Jeff Middlebrooks hit a 3-pointer to bump the advantage to 10. Soon, the rout was on, capped by a 3-pointer by Butler that made it 54-32.
Adamu scored eight of his nine points in the second half. Washington had eight points and eight rebounds.
Donald Qualls led Grambling with 12 points. Lance Feurtado scored 11 and Justin Patton had 10.
The Tigers may have been wiped out by their path to the finals.
Five of their wins in this recent stretch were decided by five points or less, and that doesn’t count their semifinal win over second-seeded Jackson State, which went to overtime Friday night.
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