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NCAA TOURNAMENT

Morehead State wins play-in game

Eagles defeat Alabama State, 58-43, and will take on Louisville in the first round Friday.

March 18, 2009|Associated Press

DAYTON, OHIO — Center Kenneth Faried got the better of his counterpart Tuesday night, and the Morehead State Eagles never trailed during a 58-43 victory over Alabama State that opened the NCAA tournament and ended a quarter-century of futility for Morehead State.

"For every fan out there, this is for you," said Faried, who had 14 points and 21 rebounds. "Even for those in the last 25 years when we haven't made it, this one is for them."

Morehead State (20-15) played its way into a first-round match on Friday with top-seeded Louisville.

Alabama State (22-10) hoped to set the tone defensively behind shot blocker Grlenntys Chief Kickingstallionsims Jr., a 7-foot-1 center whose reach is as long as his name. He swatted away three shots, but wasn't much help where he was needed most -- on the boards.

Faried, the Ohio Valley Conference's defensive player of the year, led a team that relies on balance and rebounding to get it done. Morehead State dominated the boards, 50-27.

Andrew Hayles scored 14 points for Alabama State, which shot only 31% in addition to getting outrebounded.

"They crashed the boards hard," guard Brandon Brooks said.

"We just didn't play our game tonight. We came out timid. We should have come out like we wanted to win this game, and we didn't. The better team won."

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