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A-B shocks UC; Tigers win

by Danny Carpenter

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

CHARLESTON -- Despite playing two overtimes with only six players on its roster, No. 5 seed Alderson-Broaddus advanced to the West Virginia Conference Men's Tournament title game in dramatic fashion.

The Battlers (21-8) outscored No. 1 seed University of Charleston, 14-6, in the second overtime to claim a stunning 85-77 win at the Charleston Civic Center.

The Battlers will face a familiar foe in tonight's championship -- Salem-Teikyo (26-3), which handily defeated Fairmont State 65-48 in Friday's nightcap. Tip-off is 8:30 p.m.

It appeared as if A-B would run away with the opening game after taking a 29-16 halftime lead. It was the lowest output for the Eagles (28-3) in a first half this season.

However, UC responded in the second half.

All-American guard Ajamu Gaines scored 20 of his game-high 36 points, while inside players Shawn Thigpen and Willie Jones began to dominate.

Charleston slowly chipped away and grabbed a 49-47 lead with 3:55 left in regulation.

After Courtney Tolliver made a three-point play to help A-B regain the lead, Gaines hit two consecutive baskets.

A-B's Kevyn McBride hit two 3-pointers with less than two minutes to play to give the Battlers a 56-55 lead.

Gaines then hit another 3-pointer, before A-B's Allen Jenkins scored on a driving layup with 9.1 seconds to play to tie the score.

Charleston had another chance, but three attempts were unsuccessful.

"It was won by the players, and they made the plays," Alderson-Broaddus coach Brett Vincent said. "It was the most exciting game I've coached."

Both teams battled back and forth in the first overtime before UC had a chance to win with no time on the clock. The Eagles' Derek Jones missed a pair of free throws to send the game into the second overtime.

A-B sealed the win at the free throw line. Jenkins hit a pair of free throws and McBride went 4-for-4 in the last minute.

In the nightcap, Salem-Teikyo took control early, erasing a 2-0 deficit with an 18-1 run.

Leroy Blyden scored all eight of his points during the run, which spanned just under seven minutes and gave S-TU an 18-3 lead.

Fairmont State (25-3) drew within six points late in the first half when Mitchell Martin hit a 3-pointer at the 2:04 mark to make the score 26-20.

But Salem held off the charge and led 32-22 at the half. The Tigers used a 7-0 run at the start of the second half to gain control for good.

"We set the tone early with our great defense," Salem coach Mike Carey said. "It was big to jump to the early lead because Fairmont has a great team and we knew they would battle."

Amilcar Butler paced Salem with 14 points, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range. Ed Jenkins added 12 points and 7 rebounds. Blyden added a game-high 9 rebounds.

Martin and Corey Bridges led Fairmont with 9 points each.

Tonight's game tips off at 8:30 p.m.

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