RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Aaron Williams didn't have much time to
think when the ball came to him, and he hoped a prayer would work.
Williams' 10-footer with 2 seconds left Saturday lifted Delaware
State to a 55-53 victory against Hampton for the Mid-Eastern
Athletic Conference championship, and gave the Hornets their first
NCAA Tournament berth. "We said a prayer right before we went back out," a smiling
Williams said, speaking of a timeout huddle with 15 seconds
remaining. After he dribbled most of the clock down, a teammate's 3-pointer
from the corner was off the mark and the ball got batted around
underneath by both teams before finally coming to Williams, all
alone in the lane. "It got tipped to me," he said. "Time was running out.
Anybody in my position would have done the same thing -- get the
ball and shoot it." When it swished through, and when the Pirates' attempt at a
length-of-the-court play in the final 1.6 seconds failed, Delaware
State (19-13) was on the way to its first NCAA Tournament in any
sport. "We made history twice," forward Jahsha Bluntt said. "We won
the conference and we won the MEAC championship. I count that as a
joy." The top-seeded Hornets trailed for most of the game, but Bluntt
tied the game at 53 on a 3-pointer with 1:08 left, and Williams'
shot gave them their third victory this season against Hampton
(17-13). "It was the same, identical shot we lost on at their place,"
Pirates coach Bobby Collins said, recalling Bluntt's buzzer beater
on Jan. 22. Bluntt scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half for
Delaware State, and Terrance Hunter finished with 15, also getting
11 in the half. "Jahsha stepped up in the latter parts of the game and made
some tough shots for us," Hornets coach Greg Jackson said after
Bluntt had three 3s in the last 7:07. "Sometimes you live by the
jumper or you die by it." After going 1-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half,
Delaware State made 6 of 14 in the final 20 minutes. Bluntt was
4-for-7 on 3s. "He doesn't need very much room to get open," Collins said.
"It doesn't matter who is on him -- he can get his shot off." Bruce Brown had 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Pirates, but
missed a putback from in front of the basket in the final minute.
Devin Green led Hampton with 14 points, but had just two in the
second half. The Hornets were playing in their first championship game since
1993, while Hampton was seeking its third league championship in