Miles blasts Albany State

ALBANY, Ga. — The last time Miles was on the court with Albany State, the Golden Bears finished the contest by hoisting the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship trophy and looked towards their upcoming bid in the NCAA Division II tournament.

While the coronavirus pandemic kept that playoff appearance from happening, and there will be no SIAC title to play for this year, Miles could still find itself getting another opportunity at the NCAA tourney starting next week. By throttling the Golden Rams 71-48 Thursday afternoon, the Golden Bears (8-1) remained on track for selection to the postseason dance for a third straight season.

Miles’ defense continued to round into shape against Albany State (2-7). The Golden Rams shot under 40 percent from the field, the seventh straight opponent that failed to reach that plateau. The Golden Bears’ offense was much more efficient, especially in the first half when they shot over 55 percent from the floor. Albany State especially had trouble containing Yasim Hooker.

A junior forward, Hooker hit 6-of-7 shot attempts in the opening 20 minutes, scoring 12 of his season-high 19 points. His dunk capped an 8-0 run that gave Miles the lead for good with 6:38 left in the opening stanza.  Ryan Calhoun would knock down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Miles its biggest lead in the first half (12 points) with 4:17 left and the Golden Bears would take a 38-26 lead into halftime.

The second half was the Avery Brown show, as the defending SIAC Player of the Year went to work offensively to keep Albany State from entertaining any thoughts of a comeback. The senior guard scored seven straight points, burying a 3-ball to end the jaunt and give Miles a 47-30 advantage three minutes into the final period. His jumper with nine minutes remaining pushed the lead to 56-36, reaching 20 points for the first time. Brown scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the second half as the Golden Bears led by as many as 24 points.

Jordan Simpson (14 points, eight rebounds) was the only player to score in double figures for Albany State. Jelani Watson-Gayle (nine points, game-high seven assists), and Richard Feagin (seven points, three rounds) played well for Miles, which hosts Savannah State on Saturday. Tip time is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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