March 21, 2019 10:56:56 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Derrik Jamerson Jr. had 25 points and made two free throws with 17 seconds left in overtime as Norfolk State narrowly defeated Alabama 80-79 in the NIT first round on Wednesday night.
Nic Thomas had 15 points and five steals for Norfolk State (22-13). Steven Whitley added 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Jordan Butler had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the visitors.
Herbert Jones scored a career-high 18 points for the Crimson Tide (18-16).
Alex Reese added 17 points and seven rebounds. John Petty had 11 points, including a 3-pointer to tie it at 67 at the end of regulation.
Riley Norris, a graduate senior at Alabama, started the game and in doing so, he surpassed former standout Levi Randolph as the program leader in career games played (136).
"First of all, I want to congratulate Norfolk State because they played an outstanding game, especially in the second half," Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. "They came out with a lot of energy and it all started with a big three by Derrik Jamerson at the end of the first half. He really got hot in the second half and we lost him a couple of times. He looked like the prolific three-point shooter that he is, shooting 52 percent from the line, second in the country."
Behind the performances of both Reese and Petty, Alabama reserves chipped in 41 points and outscored the Spartans 41-27 in points off the bench.
"I'm proud of our seniors," Johnson said. "We made all those guys stand up in front of the team and we wanted to honor them for all of their hard work and dedication to the program on and off the court. It was a disappointing loss. The way we lost this game is some of the same reasons why we didn't make the (NCAA) Tournament. It gives us a lot to work on whenever we can get started with our offseason training. I told those guys we don't ever want to feel like this again."
The game featured 14 lead changes and eight ties throughout the game.
With Alabama trailing by four, 80-76, Jones knocked down a three to cut the lead to only one with six seconds remaining in overtime. Norfolk State turned the ball over trying to in-bound the ball to set up one last chance for the Tide. However, the runner by Riley Norris on the baseline fell short.
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