|No.5 Savannah State Beats No. 12 Delaware State||< All News|
|Monday, March 7, 2016|
NORFOLK, Va. - Christopher Martin never got stressed during Monday's opening round game against with Delaware State at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.
Even with the 12th seeded Hornets shooting lights out and on the precipice of pulling off a Lakerish upset, Martin knew the fifth-seeded Tigers could regain control and pull off the 63-58 victory by doing what the Tigers do all year.
“We knew we could grind it out,” said Martin, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “We stuck together like brothers, stuck with the game plan and found a way to win.”
With their eighth win in their last nine games, The Tigers (15-14) advanced to a Thursday night quarterfinal meeting with fourth-seeded Bethune-Cookman. Delaware State ends its season 7-25.
While Martin posted his second 20-point night of the season, and also matched his output of the last three games, this night belonged to the Tiger defense, which held the Hornets to 27.3-percent shooting (6-of-22) in the second half after getting torched for 57-percent the opening 20 minutes.
After Lenjo Kilo (10 points, 12 rebounds) hit a jumper with 2:21 left that made it 59-58, the Tigers held the Hornets scoreless the rest of the way. All they needed was a pair of free throws from both Troyce Manassa (13 points) and Martin to preserve the win.
“We just started trying to guard people,” said Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax. “The guys picked it up a little bit and started playing some defense.”
Even after seeing a 42-31 lead fade, Delaware State made one last stand down the stretch and had a pair of six points leads.
A Martin lay-up gave Savannah State a 52-51 lead, then after a Delaware State three-pointer, Kamil Williams hit a wide open three in transition that made it 55-53 with 3:57 left.
“That’s when I knew we had a chance to win,” Kilo said.
Dana Raysor’s three with 2:45 left gave the Hornets their final lead of the game at 58-57.
Raysor had eight of his 13 in the first half as Delaware State led by 12 points on three first-half occasions. The Hornets settled for a 37-29 halftime advantage.
“This is one of those games you hate to end a season on,” said Delaware State coach Keith Walker. “We played well enough to win, but we had execution issues – a few missed shots and a couple of turnovers-- that made the difference.”
Kavon Waller led the Hornets with 15 points, DeAndre Haywood added 10.