|Tigers overcome slow start to defeat Bulldogs||< All News|
|Tuesday, March 11, 2014|
NORFOLK, Va. – The Savannah State men’s basketball team overcame a slow start to defeat South Carolina State, 61-47, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) men’s basketball first round game Monday night at the Scope Arena.
The victory was the fifth-seeded Tigers’ third triumph over the 12th-seeded Bulldogs this season and second in five days against S.C. State. Meanwhile, Savannah State (13-16 overall) advances to a quarterfinal match-up against Norfolk State Thursday night at 8 p.m.
Alante Fenner led the Tigers with 15 points while Terel Hall added 14 points and Jeremiah Hill had 10 points. Jyles Smith pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for Savannah State. Fenner also had eight rebounds for Savannah State.
The Bulldogs (9-21) were led in scoring by Jalen White, who finished with 19 points.
The Tigers were able to overcome a tough beginning in which they missed their first six shots from the field and fell behind, 7-0 less than three minutes into the game.
“I said to my team that it takes 40 minutes to win whether you’re up seven or down by seven,” Savannah State Head Coach Horace Broadnax said. “It’s always good to get a win in the tournament. We were a little nervous up front to start the game and we just couldn’t get hot out of the gate.”
Trailing, 9-4 early, Savannah State unleashed an 18-6 scoring surge highlighted by consecutive baskets from Hikeem Champaigne that gave his team a 22-15 edge with 7:20 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs recovered to tie the game at 24.
Savannah State took the lead for good by scoring the last four points of the first half to take a 28-24 lead into the locker room. Saadiq Muhammed’s dunk gave the Tigers the lead for good, 26-24, with 90 seconds remaining the in the first half.
Even though the Tigers capped off the victory in style with back to back dunks from Joshua Montgomery and Hall in the final 30 seconds, the story of this game was the Tigers tourniquet-like defense in the finale of the five-game opening night.
The Bulldogs entered the game averaging 63.3 points per contest. The Tigers allowed 50 points last week to the Bulldogs in a 69-50 victory on March 6. South Carolina State scored 23 points in the second half. The Bulldogs also made seven baskets in each half as Savannah State expanded its halftime advantage and took control of the contest.
For the game, Savannah State limited the Bulldogs to 26.4 shooting and forced 12 turnovers. Another difference in the contest was Savannah State’s bench scoring 45 of its 61 points.
“I want to commend Savannah State because they’re a heck of a basketball team,” South Carolina State Head Coach Murray Garvin said. “They did a good job executing defensively and offensively and they got the win. I’m disappointed in the loss, but we’ll only get better from here.”