Nov. 20, 2005Fans crowded the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center Saturday night, as the second day of this years Paradise Jam basketball tournament saw games between top seated teams Old Dominion, Fordham, Wisconsin, and Eastern Kentucky.
The Fordham Rams started the first game with intense defense, keeping Old Dominions Monarchs scoreless for the first four minutes of the half. The Rams had a balanced attack, using ball movement and screenings to create open opportunities. This allowed them to jump to an early 22-15 lead.
To the end of the half, Old Dominion managed to cut the deficit, making the score 29-27, in favor of Fordham. Compared to Friday nights game against the Georgia Bulldogs, however, Monarch players seemed overwhelmed by the Rams strategy, with coach Blaine Taylor visually upset over the teams first half play.
Coming out into the second half, however, the team regained their form, catching a second wind behind star forward Alex Loughton, who hit a jumper to resume the game and tie the score 29-29. Old Dominion defense caused Fordham to commit numerous turnovers, but the Monarchs werent able to capitalize on the errors enough to take a big lead.
The lead changed nine times before Old Dominions Arnaud Dahi hit a three with something left to make the score 49-51, putting the team ahead for good. Monarchs Drew Williamson hit some late three pointers, widening the gap and making it impossible for Fordham to catch up, leaving the final score at 65-52 in favor of Old Dominion.
Leading scorers for Old Dominion were Loughton with 17 points and Williamson with 15 points. Fordham was led by Bryant Dunston with 18 points followed by Jermaine Anderson with 10.
The second and most exciting game of the tournament so far showcased the Wisconsin Badgers against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.
The first half was a seesaw battle, with both teams trading baskets continuously. The refs seemed just as winded as the players, since whistles were blown to call constant fouls. In fact, the half ended with two foul shots from Badgers player Alando Tucker, putting the team just behind the Colonels at 32-31 at the end of the half.
The second half took off with both teams not hesitating to shoot long-range shots. Eastern Kentuckys Matt Witt hit five three pointers during this time, while Wisconsin guard Kammron Taylor hit four three pointers. At one point, both teams exchanged a series of three pointers, with Taylors final shot of the five tying the score with 13:47 left in the half.
The score remained close until Wisconsin took a six point lead off forward Brian Butch, making the score 56-62 in favor of the Monarchs with 3:53 left in the half. However, the Monarchs lost the lead when they made a series of turnovers which allowed Eastern Kentucky to catch up, making the score 64-66 in favor of Wisconsin with 30 seconds left in the game.
In an exciting turn of events, Taylor committed an offense foul which gave the Colonels possession of the ball. With 30 seconds left, Eastern Kentucky forward Alonzo Hird found himself under the basket surrounded by Wisconsin defenders when he spun and hit the game-tying shot which sent the game into its first overtime.
During the first overtime, both teams came out firing, exchanging multiple three pointers. With three minutes left in the game Witt stole the ball from Monarchs Alando Tucker, and took it down for an open court three, giving Eastern Kentucky a 71-68 lead.
From that point, both teams swapped foul shots up to the last 23 seconds of the game, when Michael Brockon the bench for the majority of the night hit a huge three pointer to extend Eastern Kentuckys lead 76-73.
With six seconds left in the first overtime, and Eastern Kentucky clinging to a three point lead, Wisconsins Taylor hit a three to send the game into the second overtime.
In the second overtime, both teams continued their three point barrage, but a number of well executed free throws sunk at the last minute spelled out victory for Wisconsin. To seal the deal, Tucker added an unanticipated dunk over Eastern Kentucky players within the last five seconds, allowing Wisconsin to take a six point lead and win the game 95-89.
Tucker led Wisconsin with 38 points, while Eastern Kentuckys Witt led with 25 points.
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