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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Norfolk State overcomes big deficit to win CIT championship

The Norfolk State Spartans’ men’s basketball team will end their season with a Division I postseason tournament championship for the first time in school history.

The Spartans claimed the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) championship following a 75-67 win over Purdue Fort Wayne.

The CIT Tournament, established in 2009, was in its first year after a four-year hiatus.

Norfolk State clinched a berth in the championship game after getting a bye in the first two rounds and defeating Alabama A&M in the semifinals.

Christian Ings, named the MVP of the CIT tournament, finished the game with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. He added three rebounds and three assists.

Allen Betrand and Jamarii Thomas came off the bench to score 16 points and 12 points, respectively. The latter also recorded five assists, three rebounds, and three steals.

Jaylani Darden also scored in double figures, finishing with 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. He also chipped in five rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Norfolk State started slowly, falling behind 14-4 in the game’s first five minutes. Purdue was hot from three-point range, hitting four of their first seven attempts.

This continued for the remainder of the first half, with Purdue leading by 18 points. However, Norfolk State built some momentum with an 8-0 run to end the first half down 41-31.

In the second half, the Spartans rode their first-half-ending run to its first lead at the mid-way point on a three-pointer by Betrand.

The Spartans would keep the lead for the remainder of the game, peaking with an 11-point advantage in the final three minutes.

Norfolk State ends the season with a 24-11 overall record.

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