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Posts Tagged ‘Lafayette “Fat” Lever.’

2010 NCAA Opening Round Game: Arkansas-Pine Bluff 61 Winthrop 44

LeBaron Weathers, Allen Smith, Coach George Ivory of UAPB (

Dayton, O.- Have you ever heard of a basketball program that went 0-11 to start a season, then finished up 17-4 and won their conference tournament? Also, that same team played the first 14 games of the season on the road. Furthermore, could you see that team advancing in the NCAA Tournament?

Well, to answer all of your questions there is such a team!

That team is named, the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions and they won what the media calls , “the play-in “game but for the sake of the NCAA, it’s the Opening Round Game, 61-44 over Winthrop.

The Golden Lions reward for winning last night’s game is a #16 seed and a playing date with Duke University this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a story in itself. Most Mid-major schools have a story and it is to travel to play the best teams across the country for a nice paycheck to keep the basketball program afloat. That’s the reason why UAPB started the season, 0-11. They lost to Colorado, Denver, UTEP, Akron, Arizona State, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Kansas State and Oregon. Then the Golden Lions get into their league, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and go 14-4 in the regular season and win their conference tournament, defeating Southern, 50-38 in the championship game. Senior guard Allen Smith was the tourney MVP and he helped lead his school to its first NCAA bid with a 17-15 record.

NCAA Dayton (

What makes all of this a very cinderella story, is that the Golden Lions were 13-18 overall and 11-7 in SWAC in 2008-2009. Furthermore, if you go back the last five years and research their RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) and wins you would find in order: 311 (7 wins), 292 (13 wins), 269 (12 wins), 309 (13 wins) and 251 (13 wins). This program has truly improved overnight.

Usually in the Opening Round Game, both teams look a little ragged because after all, they just finished their conference tournament on a Saturday. On Sunday, they watch the NCAA selection show and they have to board a plane or a bus to arrive in Dayton, Ohio for a public practice and media press conferences and then Tuesday night, it’s Game Time!

Tuesday night’s game started out similar to ones of past years, turnovers, missed dunks and too much jump shooting and bad shot selection. Arkansas-Pine Bluff did manage to get early at 9-4 at the 14:53 mark. The score stayed 9-4 through the second media timeout at 11:56.

The Golden Lions started to open up a lead at 13-7 with 9:04 to go in the first period.

After the 7:43 media timeout, the Winthrop Eagles of the Big South Conference showed why they earned their way into the tournament. Junior forward Charles Corbin started to get inside and scored easily helping to cut a 15-10 deficit into a one point deficit at the half, 24-23.

The halftime stats weren’t picture-perfect but you couldn’t tell by the 8,205 fans  in attendance because it was a very vocal and raucous crowd, happy that their teams were in the NCAA Tournament and playing on national television (ESPN). Both teams were shooting in the high 20′s from the field. Arkansas-Pine Bluff had the better stats, shooting 88.9% (8 of 9) from the free throw line and Tavaris Washington grabbing 7 rebounds. The big negative was that they committed 7 turnovers.

In the second half, the Golden Lions took control of the game by using their athleticism, quickness and getting the ball inside which created foul trouble for Winthrop, who had two players foul out at the end of the game.

Allen Smith showed why he was the MVP of the SWAC tournament has he drained two 3-point goals in a row to push the lead out to seven at 38-34 with 11:44 to go.

The lead just kept growing to 53-40 with 4:26 to go and the game was over.  Winthrop could never get into a flow on offense and only shot 31 percent in the 2nd half.

Victorious Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 52.6% in the second half and controlled the backboards, 39-34, with Tavaris Washington hauling down 13 to lead the way. Overall, they shot 3-point goals better at 6 of 16 and blocked seven shots. Allen Smith led the way in scoring with 14 and Tyree Glass scored 10.

Winthrop ends the season at 19-14. They were led in scoring by Charles Corbin with 13 and 11 from Matt Morgan and 10 points and 8 boards from Mantoris Robinson.

SOUNDS FROM THE  POST GAME PRESS CONFERENCE (to listen to an audio file, click the number)

44 596 Lebaron Weathers UAPB Looking over season the trip to Michigan wore them out

44 598 LeBaron Weathers UAPB Did all the treaveling toughen this team up

44 600 Allen Smith UAPB Were they forward to playing Duke U all along

44 601 Lebaron Weathers UAPB Now that Duke is the next game what are your thoughts

44 603 George Ivory coach UAPB Playing all those road games what does it do

44 605 George Ivory UAPB coach How huge is this NCAA appearance for his school

44 606 George Ivory UAPB His thoughts on Duke he played against them in college

44 611 Randy Peele Winthrop coach overall thoughts on the game

44 613 Mantoris Robinson Winthrop On his 5 year career full of awards

44 615A Reggie Middleton Winthrop This NCAA experience helping for next year

44 615 B Charles Corbin Winthrop On how this experience will help moving forward

44 616 Randy Peele Winthrop coach From a 5-9 start to the NCAA Tourney

44 618 Randy Peele Winthrop Did UAPB do anything special on defense to force bad shooting



* This is the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s first NCAA Opening Round Round victory. Previously the SWAC was 0-4 in NCAA Opening Round games.

* The SWAC conference is 5-29 all-time NCAA Tournament games.

* The Golden Lions has won five games in a row and 12 of their last 13.

* They are 5-0 in neutral site games this season.

* The 44 points allowed by the Golden Lions is the second lowest of the season.

* Tavaris Washington’s 13 rebounds is a season-high. This is the fourth time this season recording double digits in rebounds.

* Head coach George Ivory has won a championship at every level imaginable. As a player, Ivory won a SWAC Title with Mississippi Valley State and as a graduate assistant at Jackson State. Ivory has also won  conference titles as an assistant coach with Mississippi Valley State and now as a head coach.

* Duke is the Golden Lions next opponent and coach Ivory is very familiar with them. As a player, Ivory faced Duke in 1986 while At Mississippi Valley State. Playing guard Ivory tallied 14 points and nearly led MVSU to what would have been a shocking upset over the #1 seeded team. Mississippi Valley State lost the game by seven points, 85-78.

Downtown Pine Bluff (wfe)

* Pine Bluff Arkansas is a town of 50,667 and is located near the Arkansas River. Famous residents include: Joe Barry Carroll (Purdue basketball player), Mike Huckabee (Arkansas Governor), Torii Hunter (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Don Hutson (NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver), Lafayette “Fat” Lever (ex-NBA star) and Willie Roaf (former NFL Pro Bowl Offensive lineman).


* This was the Eagles ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the fifth in the last six years.

* Their NCAA record drops to 1-9 all-time and has lost three consecutive games.

* This was the Eagles second NCAA Opening Round game at the UD Arena. Winthrop has lost both.

* Head coach Randy Peele is just the second coach in the Big South Conference to make 3 NCAA trips.

* The Eagles won 10 league games for a record 10th time.

* The Winthrop basketball program has won 531 games dating back to their first year in 1978-79.

* The Eagles have always had a high RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) over the past five years in order ( 78th, 73rd, 66th, 108th but were a 255 with an 11-19 record in 2008-2009. The previous four seasons, they had win totals of 27, 23, 29 and 22.

Downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina (wfe)

* Rock Hill, South Carolina is the 4th largest city in the state. It has a population of 67,337 people and is 25 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina.

It’s prominent residents include: Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson, who was a minor league manager there in 1955. And Olympic Speedskater Lauren Cholewinski.