The NCAA Division II South Regional tournament began today with the top 16 teams in the region competing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The match between the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Eagles kicked off today’s events. Being members of separate conferences, these two teams only ever meet during the larger regional tournaments, but they still have some history against each other. ERAU has knocked UAH out of the tournament both times they’ve battled, so things were looking grim heading into this game. There was an interesting twist in that both teams nearly had the same lineups as the ones in last year’s matchup. This means that both teams are familiar with how the other normally plays, leading to possible changes in their strategies.
Photo Cred: WAAY 31
The first half began with both teams trading the lead back and forth, scoring basket after basket. Soon, though, the Chargers started to pull ahead of the Eagles, having figured out the Eagles’ defense and then plowing past them. Huntsville had several penalties called on them, but it was not enough for Embry-Riddle to gain any meaningful advantage. By the halfway point of the half, UAH had a nine-point lead, a lead that the Eagles would find themselves unable to surmount. Despite several pushes on ERAU’s side, Huntsville managed to score just as many points back. At the end of the first half, the score was 44-37 in favor of the Chargers.
Photo Cred: WHNT
The second half started with the Eagles going all-out, rapidly scoring several baskets and closing the gap between the two teams. Nine minutes in, Embry-Riddle had closed the gap to a three-point difference, bringing them closer to the lead. Unfortunately for them, UAH found its footing and pushed back, scoring multiple two and three-pointers to ensure their lead was permanent. This continued to be the state of affairs for the rest of the game, with ERAU making pushes and then Huntsville doing the same. By the end of the game, the Eagles had been unable to successfully take the lead. The University of Alabama-Huntsville claimed victory over them for the first time ever with a score of 76-69.
Photo Cred: UAH Athletics