Last Second Shot gives FAMU MEAC Title
March 10, 2007
Brian Greene scored on an inbounds alley-oop play as the buzzer sounded to give Florida A&M University a dramatic, 58-56 win over Delaware State in the finals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship at the RBC Center. The Number 2 seed Rattlers (21-13) receive the conference’s automatic NCAA bid and await their fate on Selection Sunday.
Greene capped off an outstanding individual performance, finishing with 22 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Number 1 seed Hornets (21-12) scored four straight points to tie the game at 56 with 32 seconds remaining. First, the Rattlers called two timeouts and then Delaware State called one with 1.1 seconds remaining. Lamar Twitty inbounded the ball from in front of the Florida A&M bench and threw a perfect pass to the other side of the basket to Greene, who caught the ball and in one motion, dropped the ball in the basket as the horn sounded and set off a wild celebration by the FAMU faithful.
“The play is called FIU after Florida International University,” explained FAMU head coach Mike Gillespie. “We put it in about three years ago and have run it only twice. The first time it failed because someone stepped on Rome Sanders’ foot. We almost didn’t run it this time until Delaware State called that timeout. We put LC (Leslie Robinson) in the game and he sort of dictated the pass to Brian. Lamar made a perfect pass.”
“It was a coaching mistake; we never should have had someone on the ball,” said Delaware State head coach Greg Jackson, the MEAC Coach of the Year. “I’ll take the blame for that.”
As important as Greene’s offensive production was, his defense on Bright may have been even more vital to the win. After Bright, who was named to the All-Tournament team, scored 12 first half points on 5-of-8 shooting, the junior sharpshooter, went 3-for-8 in the second half, scoring only two baskets in the final 17:28.
“Brian Greene did as good a job on Bright as anyone in this conference,” observed Coach Jackson.
“This was truly a team effort,” said Greene, the tournament most outstanding performer. “I got a lot of help. In a game like this, there are a lot of people that play a role and it doesn’t always show up in the statistics.”
The Rattlers shot 62 percent from the field in the second half that featured mini runs by both teams. Each teams had six-point leads in the second stanza, but each time the other team responded.
Jahsha Bluntt, the two-time MEAC Player of the Year, had a poor shooting performance. Bluntt, who came into the game averaging almost 16 points per game while shooting 85 percent from the free throw line, missed 10 of 13 shots, including 0 for 9 from beyond the arc and 2 of 7 from the charity stripe.
“My shots weren’t falling for me, and even on free throws,” admitted Bluntt. “I tried to do other things to get myself going, but I couldn’t catch any rhythm.”
This is the second time that FAMU has won the title in three years. Delaware State, the 2007 regular season champion, is expected to a National Invitational Tournament bid for the second straight season as a result of winning the regular season title.
2007 All-Tournament Team:
Roy Bright, Delaware State
Darren Shine, Delaware State
Steven Rush, North Carolina A&T
Boubacar Coly, organ State
Brian Greene, Florida A&M
Most Outstanding Performer
Brian Greene, Florida A&M
Most Outstanding Coach
Mike Gillespie, Florida A&M