DAYTON, Ohio – Morehead State didn’t need a Chief on the boards to get its first NCAA victory in 25 years.
Center Kenneth Faried got the better of his bigger and more syllabic counterpart Tuesday night, and the 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.
Morehead (20-15) played its way into a first-round rematch on Friday with top-seeded Louisville, another Kentucky team that it knows well – maybe a little too well for a good night’s sleep the next few days.
Alabama State (22-10) hoped to set the tone on defense 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 on the boards.
Faried, the Ohio Valley Conference’s defensive player of the year, had 14 points and 21 rebounds, leading 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.
The crowd of 11,346 at University of Dayton Arena was the largest for an NCAA opening-round game.