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Sunday, March 7, 2004

Posted on Sun, Mar. 07, 2004, The State Newspaper

Benedict men claim SIAC title

By TRAVIS MORSE

Special to The State

SIAC Basketball Tournament ChampionsALBANY, Ga - The Benedict men's basketball team upset No. 1 seed Morehouse 89-86 in overtime Saturday to win its first SIAC title since 1961.

The men followed the road paved by the Benedict women's team, which beat Tuskegee earlier in the day, completing the first SIAC sweep by one school since 1979.

The victory ended the title drought, whose coach was not even born when the first championship was won.

"It feels great," coach Fred Watson said. "It just hasn't sunk in yet. When we get back to Columbia, it will probably sink in then."

Eugene Jackson, MVPFor standout guard Eugene Jackson, who led all scorers with 30 points, the championship was "a long time coming."

Jackson had to battle through two season-ending surgeries in his career before he was named tournament MVP.

"It feels so good," Jackson said. "It was hard having to work my muscles back into shape and to get back to this point. Like my mom always said, ´God doesn't put you through anything you can't handle.' "

Sophomore guard Joel Brown, who scored 17 points in the final, also was named to the all-tournament team, yet he was quick to give credit to his teammates.

"We would've been at home watching the game if it wasn't for (guard) Pete Asmond," Brown said. "He is the type of guy who will hit the 3 when people don't think he will shoot."

In a game that saw 56 fouls, Watson credited the Tigers' depth, which helped when three of his players fouled out. Five players were forced to sit after reaching the foul limit.

"Our top concern in practice will be rebounds," Watson said as his team prepares for the NCAA Division II playoffs. "Then we'll focus on free throws. We'll enjoy the weekend but then it's back to work."

BENEDICT (19-8)

Eugene Jackson 30, Pete Asmond 9, Charles Bankhead 17, Josh Obiajunwa 10, Rick Lewis 8, Malik McCullough 1, Joel Brown 12, Charles Johnson 2.

MOREHOUSE (25-4)

Brandon Childs 21, Steve Walters 14, Ronald Thompson 21, Gerald Cannon 6, Darius Wade 20, Anthony Locke 2, Jason Patterson 2.

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