for this game

Morehead State wins, sets up meeting with Louisville

Mar 18, 2009 - 3:03 AM DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 21 rebounds Tuesday night as Morehead State earned its first NCAA Tournament victory in a quarter century, posting a 58-43 win over Alabama State.

The Eagles (20-15) never trailed and advanced to play top-seeded Louisville in the Midwest Regional on Friday.

Alabama State finished at 22-10. Its star player, 7-foot-1 Chief Kickingstallionsims Jr., blocked three shots but did little on the boards.

Morehead State hadn't made the tournament since 1984. The Eagles beat North Carolina A&T in an opening game that year.

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

Morehead State has already faced Louisville this season, absorbing a 79-41 loss on November 22.

"I think we'll do a lot better," said Maze Stallworth, who added 11 points. "That game is a big blur to us. A lot of us don't remember that game - or don't want to remember that game. It's great to play them one more time on a neutral court."

Both teams shot so poorly that fans at the crowd of 11,346 at University of Dayton Arena - the largest for an NCAA opening-round game - resorted to doing the wave in the second half. Morehead State couldn't bring the fans to their feet, but did enough to move along to another game in Dayton.

Kickingstallionsims was the Southwestern Athletic Conference's defensive player of the year. He showed off his reach by swatting away the game's first shot, but made little impact the rest of the way. He had only two rebounds and was 0-for-2 from the field.

Instead, with Faried, the Ohio Valley Conference's top defensive player, leading the way, Morehead State did what it does best, gobbling up the rebounds and controlling the game. The Eagles had a 29-13 edge on the boards in the first half, when it opened a 13-point lead that was never seriously threatened.

In the end, the Eagles finished with a 50-27 rebounding advantage.

"They crashed the boards hard," Hornets 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."

Alabama State went nearly seven minutes without scoring in the first half, missing six shots and throwing the ball away three times. That provided an opening for Morehead State to pull ahead 25-12 even though the Eagles shot only 36 percent from the field before halftime.

The Eagles were quicker and more determined, especially on the boards, and that made the difference. Morehead State's lead never slipped under double-digits the rest of the way.

Andrew Hayles scored 14 points for the Hornets.