NORFOLK, Va. (WAYV/AP) — Head Coach Robert Jones said all he could think about over the past two years was his team falling short in the Mid-Eastern Conference Tournament championship game two years ago. After a win over Howard in the semifinals on Friday night, his battle-tested Norfolk State team will have a shot at redemption, and a trip the big dance on Saturday.
Norfolk’s own Steven Whitley, playing right down the road from his alma mater Booker T. Washington High School, scored a game-high 24 points, and led the Spartans to a 75-69 win.
“I’m happy these guys were able to get us as a university back to this position, and I think they’re really hungry to try and finish the deal,” said Jones, who was an assistant coach on the first and only other Spartan squad to win a MEAC Tournament title in 2012.
“At the end of the day, you always dream about being a champion, making history,” said Whitley, who hit a game-clinching three-pointer with :47 seconds left to play.
“It would definitely mean a lot, and we’re not going to settle until we get the job done.”
Derrik Jamerson Jr. had 15 points for Norfolk State (21-12). Mastadi Pitt added 14 points and six rebounds. Jordan Butler had 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for Norfolk State, who will face North Carolina A&T for the title at 1:00 pm inside Scope.
Chad Lott had 21 points for the Bison (17-16). RJ Cole added 19 points and seven assists. Zion Cousins had 10 points and seven rebounds.